Good things come in threes

There were three very enjoyable and educational walks at Sheskinmore in the last month. For Biodiversity week at the end of May, Emer Magee led a walk beginning from the Mullyvea entrance. This walk was aimed at all ages and a group of 22, including three families had a very pleasant few hours looking at signs of badgers, foxes and rabbits, finding cinnebar moths and young frogs and examining pin and thrum primroses. The group enjoyed the aerial antics of the lapwing and occasional chough. We went through the sand dunes, along the dune slacks and upslope to return over the heathland at Mullyvea. It was great to introduce the reserve to some local families and other family friendly events will be held to facilitate this in the future.

Bob Aldwell and Frank Smyth launched their book ‘The Butterflies of Donegal’ in early June and to celebrate its lauch Bob led a walk on the 13th of June at Sheskinmore. He began with a slide show and talk at McGlincheys and then led 33 people over the machair in a cool breeze to the perfect Butterfly haven at the west side of the mass house at Mullyvea. Bob describes below the bit of magic that happened once we got there.

“Here due to the southerly aspect and shelter from the cold north wind aided by some timely sunshine resulted in an amazing transformation. No less than ten butterfly species appeared as if to order. These were Common Blue 1, Dingy Skipper 6, Green-veined White 3, Marsh Fritillary 30, Orange Tip 2, Small Blue 10 Small Copper 1, Small Heath 15, Speckled Wood 3, Wall Brown 1. A batch of half-grown Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars was seen on a small clump of nettles.
Besides the butterflies a few bumblebee queens were seen, namely B. hortorum, B.muscorum and B.pascuorum. Cinnebar moths were numerous.
The early orchids were beginning to show but in general vegetation was much retarded.
Two Cuckoos, four Ravens two Lapwings and numerous Larks completed a truly idyllic day in Sheskinmore”

A week later on another cool cloudy Saturday there was another great turnout for the walk led by Ralph Sheppard and organised by An Taisce. Forty three people headed off with Ralph to Trawmore to look at the marsh and embroynic dunes that have formed there in recent years. Then we went across Mullyvea stopping to look at the Early Marsh, Early Purple and Northern Marsh orchids. Ralph pointed out the Heath Dog violet and explained how stoneworts develop in the dune slacks. We had a picnic on the slopes at Mullyvea and continued over the outlet at Sheskinmore Lough to McGlincheys house at Sandfield. There he had a moth trap with the moths from the previous evening waiting to show the group. There were twenty moth species, including lots of gorgeous Elephant hawkmoths, Ghost moth, Drinker moth, the aptly named Spectacle moth and the amazing looking Buff tip. A bus was arranged to take walkers from McGlincheys back to their cars at Trawmore. Three guided walks in a month what a treat.

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