Coming and Going

September and October made up for the disappointing summer. The weather was great for fieldwork and for getting projects completed around Sheskinmore. Some bracken was sprayed at Kiltooris and in the sheltered valley west of the mass house, a warm sheltered spot for butterflies that is becoming overgrown by bracken and blackthorn. Some fencing repairs were carried out before all the winter stock were put on to graze and finally the new road signs were put up along the R261 to indicate the way to the main entrance at Mullyvea.

In September,two locations at Sheskinmore were surveyed for Marsh Fritillary larvae. The hotspot this year is Carrickalahagh, there were lots of webs with tiny larvae enjoying the warm September days. There is a noticeable absence of Lapwing, they did not have a good breeding season, I only counted six pairs compared to 12 pairs last year. Despite ongoing efforts to control the rabbit population, they unfortunately are breeding very well. The high population of rabbits is damaging the vegetation, causing erosion, allowing ragwort to spread and the burrows are a threat to the livestock which could cause them an injury.

A juniper heath survey gave me a good excuse to explore Dawros Head, Dunmore Head and all around the Portnoo area. Juniper is hard to miss in this area as it grows so profusely in places like Dawros Head.However, it is not reproducing well and its overall conservation status is unfavourable.

Right beside McGlincheys a climbing plant caught my eye and I looked it up. It was Bittersweet nightshade. I checked it on Wildflowers of Ireland website and discovered it is not recorded in Donegal on the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland records. But… I still haven’t posted my record. Its so easy to leave it till later and I have to urge myself to add records to several databases, at the moment its the Mammals Atlas of Ireland. This database will not be taking any new records after 2015 so we should all check it out, even really common species records are needed.

While checking the Greenland White fronts last week a fox crossed in front of me with a rabbit in its mouth, thats the good foxy. There is only 12 geese at Sheskinmore so far and none of them are juveniles. Hopefully they will be joined by some more soon. There is another flock of 31 south of Glenties.
The Barnacle, Greylag and Brent are in their usual spots and the other winter visitors are all here. Must be time to batten down the hatches !


One thought on “Coming and Going

  1. Eimear? Nice post – great word picture of fox with rabbit in his mouth! Joseph B here….you met Una in Maghery on yon dawn Pieta House walk… were to come and see her pine marten!!! I am rather interested in your Greenland White fronted geese comments…..wee chat? 085 1746771

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