Inishowen Wildlife Club

Views and News.

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A random selection of images from past club outings.
Saturday 2nd. January 2021. On this, cold, bleak, Winter morning, from its pulpit on a leafless branch of a Hawthorn Hedge a Robin, in it's dribbling tones, delivered a sermon to an awakening world, on the miracle of spring's return. .........To those that look, it has already started with the formation of the buds on shrubs and trees, also the emergence of the green shoots of Daffodils and Lesser Celandine, stealthily making their appearance. So much to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead !
Wednesday 6th. January 2021. We received today from our dutch member Wil Buis, the above pictures of five birds, and states that all of them, with the exception of the Smew, are on the red list in the Netherlands.
At this midwinter time and pandemic uncertainty, we look forward to an unknown day, and an unknown time, when we can once again enjoy natures bounty, with heavenly choral renditions from the birds, augmented by the humming chorus of bees and insects, the fluttering of Butterflies, all in a setting of gentle, fresh greenness, warmed by beams of bright warm sunshine. ............. Well, we all can dream !!!!
Ghosts From Summer 2020.
Members Jim and Anne Toland's observations of nature in their local area.
Tuesday 2nd. February 2021. This is a difficult time of year for the nature lover. Confined to our locality, we have not the option of going to those places where we know we have a chance of seeing the traditional visitors or even something unusual. So from the window or as we walk in the locality we tend to pay more attention to our surroundings. We notice the scent of Winter Heliotrope and look at Herb Robert, Prickly and Smooth Sow Thistle, Hogweed, Daisy, Dandelion, Buttercup, Wall Valerian, Groundsel, Ragwort, Ivy-leaved Toadflax and Knapweed, We watch the behaviour of Corvids, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Pigeons and notice the frenzy of Tits, especially families of Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock and the bold defiant attitude of the Robin. And every now and then our attention is drawn to a Sparrowhawk darting by in search of a meal. We pay more than usual attention to small flocks of Curlew, the colourful Jay and a pair of Foxes as they pass, leaving their imprint on the snow covered path. .......... At present we are watching out for the signs of Spring. Naturalised Snowdrops and Crocuses have made appearance but in spite of abundant foliage we have only seen buds of Lesser Celandine and to date no Primrose. As Shelley wrote, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
Friday 5th. February 2021. From the Netherlands, club member Wil Buis has sent a number of picture of birds recorded recently in the vicinity of her home. Most notable of these for us here in Donegal is the gathering of the Pink Flamingos.
Saturday 6th. February 2021. Our keen-eyed Martin Moloney, while out walking in his local region, reported the sighting of a Red Kite in flight, and a short time later a Merlin was observed perched on a fence post.
Saturday 20th. February 2021. Some of the emissaries of Spring, and the better time that await, as seen through the camera lenses of Sinead.
Monday 1st. March 2021. Above are just a few of Nature's gifts, bestowed to beguile us on this beautiful summer-like first day of March 2021.
Sunday 20th, 21st March 2021. "The Carnival of Spring" sometimes referred to as the Vernal Equinox, when the season of Winter transforms from its long cold, dark days, to the joyous and colourful days we have been eagerly awaiting............. Now with many roadsides awash in the splendor of waving daffodils, the occasional Forsythia Bush, their multitudes of blossoms glistening like encrusted nuggets of gold. In some roadside gardens, beautiful Cherry Blossoms are being flaunted on the otherwise bare branches of the parent trees. All of this further enhanced by the outpouring of the warming rays of a benevolent Sun. .......... Next to add to this new season will be the arrival of our Summer visitors, the Sand Martins, House Martins, Swallows, Wheatear's, the Warblers and Cuckoos to name just a few. Today, what a beautiful occasion of hope in the times to come?
Thursday 8th. April 2021. A few pictures of wildlife observed in his own patch by our member Martin Moloney, over a period of a couple of weeks. He also reports the sighting of a White-tailed Eagle, a Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrow hawk, and gracing the Inishowen sky, a Golden Eagle. Life goes on as usual for the Wildlife, irrespective of the Dreaded Covid 19.
A Few Hours Enjoying the Wonders of Nature on this Beautiful Spring Day.
Saturday 17th. April 2021. The chains and shackles that kept everyone imprisoned in the five kilometer limit has been discarded, to now allow the freedom to travel to any place in our county, but with certain restrictions to be observed. ....... This being the case it was a much reduced number of members that joined our outing today. None the less, how wonderful to greet our old friends after an absence of over seven months........ Our starting point this morning was at the Stone Jug at the mouth of the Crana River, where a high tide was lapping lazily on to the sandy shore, and gently caressing the large stone pier. ........... From here it was a leisurely meander through the beautiful Swan Park, still under repair from the destructive floods of August 2017. This morning great swathes of wood Anemone their beautiful little flowers with eyes that sparkled, as they nodded a welcome from their shade-strewn abodes, while in the many nooks and crannies, Bluebells were appearing to compete with great sprinkling of the minute purple Dog Violets, with amazing displays of golden Dandelion now holding sway. ......In this wonderful park, we were introduced to our first sighting for the season of a Peacock Butterfly as it floated gingerly from bush to bush, to the melodious notes of willow warbler, Blackcap, Wren, Chaffinch, and Mistle Thrush. ........... On this special occasion our countryside was awash with the joys and splendor of Spring, overlaid by bright warm sunshine, that made our first outing since the 16th, of September, one well worth waiting for. ........... Our penultimate stop was at an amazing walk-way between Glebe and Dunree here the local stream crashes thunderously from high up the little glen, on its travel through its tree-lined way to the waiting arms of Lough Swilly. ............ The final high point of the day was to watch a Buzzard and a Golden Eagle disputing the territorial air space over the Urris Hills. .......... So concluded a wonderful day in the great outdoors.
Wednesday 21st. April 2021. Our Dutch Members, Wil Buis, Beb Marten and Anneka van Zwol, are enjoying their Bird Watching, as there are no restrictions on that sort of activity in the Netherlands at the present time. They miss Ireland and the camaraderie of the Saturday Club Outings, but hope to rectify that with a visit, hopefully at the end of May. Above are pictures of the birds recorded recently, especially the nesting White-tailed Eagle
22nd. April 2021. Martin Moloney reported hearing the first tantalizing "You can't see me" call of the Cuckoo early this morning.
An April Day in Natures Treasure Trove.
Sat. 24th. April 2021. A wonderful day of temperatures reaching eighteen degrees, boosted by continuous dazzling sunshine had the effect on Mother Nature to open wide the great doors of her treasure trove of precious jewels, that formed the rewards for out little group of Wildlife enthusiasts, when this morning, after our start at the Clochan, Glentogher, we set off through Cabry, near Quigley's Point, where petite little Marsh Violets nodded from their damp abode, inside a roadside fence. ........ Now it was on to the Shimmering waters of Lough Inn, where a Kestrel watched from its high rocky perch. Unfortunately Kestrel are in decline over the past numbers of years. .......... Next it was down to a lower altitude at Ballyargus, where a roadside, ablaze in a stunning display of beautiful Whins, and to our surprise were hosting good numbers of the beautiful little Green Hairstreak Butterflies, jewels indeed. Also fluttering in the locality were large numbers of Orange-tip, both male and female. Appearing in this area after it's winter dormancy is the very intrusive False Salmonberry plant just now starting to produce it's rather nice little flowers. In this general area Buzzard, Kestrel, Willow Warbler, Redpoll, Siskin, Blackcap, Robin and Bullfinch were recorded........... The next move was down to the main road and a stop at the little pier below the Redcastle Post Office. The short drive down this tree-lined road with a cornucopian show of wildflowers peeping from within their sylvan background was a joy to behold, amongst them were Bluebell, Dog Violet, Wood Sorrel, Wood Anemone, the multi-petaled Stitchwort, Buttercup, Ladies Smock, and Primrose to name a few. Also present here were more Orange Tip and a Speckled Wood Butterfly. ........... A very short stop at the upper Pier Moville, revealed Just one Black Guillemot, a couple of Rock Pipits, and a Sandwich Tern, while over the wooded area across the road A Buzzard circled. ............ The last call of this most beautiful day was to Inishowen Head, beautiful as usual, but bereft of the expected Bird life.
Saturday 1st May 2021. No club outing today due to unforeseen circumstances, Looking forward to next Saturday.
Another Enjoyable Outing Amid the Wonders of Nature
Sat. 8th. May 2021. A very minimal number of members braved the turbocharged rain and low temperatures set against the murky grayness of the morning. But as the expression goes "Valor favors the Brave" So we set off from the town of Clonmany, up the narrow undulating road to the crown of the scenic Pinch Mountain, from where across the valley the towering hills of Urris seemed to have a scowl on their faces, no doubt due to the prevailing conditions. ............ After a short stop here it was down to Milltown near Dunree, where the Owenerk River gurgled its way to the nearby open Ocean........... next it was up through the heavenly area known as Hillside, where in places the many Birch Trees their silvered bark shimmering their beauty in the now easing rain. ....... Despite the conditions the roadsides were a joy to behold, with wildflowers artistically arranged by the masters hand of nature, among them were Stitchwort, drifts of Bluebells waving their heads in the strong breeze, Wood Anemone, Daffodils, perhaps glad to have escaped their garden prison, Dog Violets. Daisies, with their eyes tightly closed, due to the cold and absence of sunlight. ........... After midday the rain decided to surrender and a short time later the sun had a peek through the evaporating cloud cover. Things got a lot brighter when a Golden Eagle appeared high over the Urris Hills, and as on our previous visit, it was in conflict with some of it's Corvid neighbors. ........... After this we set off up the Mamore Gap, which is always a special treat, then down to the golden sands of Lenan Beach, where we relaxed and enjoyed a cup of hot tea, and an added gastronomic treat by Liam, who it is rumored has a birthday in the offing. Another enjoyable outing amid the wonders of nature.
A Cool Day in Mid May.
Sat. 15th. May 2021. A rather cold gray morning belied the fact that it is the middle of May, not the month of March. But undaunted by such a triviality our little group of wildlife lovers gathered in Carndonagh, and after the usual exchange of news and a little banter we set off to that land of dreams namely Malin Head. ...... We had the usual short stop at the Malin Town Bridge, to check what might be of interest, then continued out the Lagg Road from which we turned up to Balleelghan, through Glacknabrade, then to the elevated Ballagh Hill Road, that provides the most interestingly scenic experience that invites the eye to drift into the dreamy vista of fading blue tones on the distant hills, while below the peaceful golden sands and waters of Trawbreaga Bay are in a higher definition. The nearby fields and roadsides are decorated with colorful displays of Bluebells, Red Campion, Buttercups, and that great escapologist commonly known as "Snow in Summer", Herb Robert, and large clumps of the white variety of Bluebell. This now took us down to the Presbyterian Church, where in the Trawbreaga Bay the high morning tide was lapping against the wall on the other side of the road from the church, while Swallows and House martins skimmed silently overhead. ..... Now it was on a short distance to the "Five Fingers Beach". Here we were entertained by a flock of seven Choughs that flew into the open grazing opposite the Catholic Church.. Near by Sand Martins graced the sky, while displays of Herb robert were again demanding attention. How wonderful to see the reappearance of what might be considered by some as insignificant, but by others as beautiful, the Field Speedwell, that indicates that in spite of the cold it must be Spring. ............ on our way over that other stunning drive, "The Knockamany Bens" we recorded a number of Common Spotted Orchids, a red blossomed Cherry Tree. Then along the road at Gortnamullen, in the little river that runs parallel to the road the bright flowers of the Marsh marigold shone brightly in the slow-flowing water. In the distance was heard the call of the Corncrake, a sound that evokes in the older members, the summers of their youth. Further along the road we recorded beautiful displays of the Marsh Lousewort plant. .........Now with the obvious sign of approaching rain we had just time to celebrate Liam's Birthday with a beautiful cake by that whiz kid Mary, the picture above depicts Liam with a saw about to cut the cake !!!. Incidentally this was his second Birthday in a week. ...... So until next week.
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