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  29.07.14, 3.24pmhrs  |  reported by admin1
  Trading Ceased

Trading Ceased : 2010

Due to young family commitments Nature.ie education services are no longer trading.

We have left this website online as a resource for persons interested in the wildlife of Inishowen and Donegal.

The news section of the site serves to track the changes and issues within the wildlife sector during the 2005 – 2010/11 period. During this time Wildlife and the wider environment became a more visible issue within Donegal County. Many wildlife related issues identified on the site are proactive and positive initiatives which have over time proved to be of value both economically and socially to the county. Wildlife as a natural resource is now identified as a significant contributor to the counties plan for economic recovery.

We hope you find the website of use and we still answer our email contacts should you wish to ask us a question relating to the sector.

You might also enjoy other websites and groups we are now involved with
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  22.12.11, 11.09amhrs  |  reported by admin1
  Wanted Dead or Alive

Irish Mammal Atlas 2011- 2015

Seen a Squirrel, Stoat or Hare, come across some ‘Road Kill’ or been told about a brief encounter? In an exciting new venture the National Biodiversity Data centre wants you to report all your encounters with Irish mammals dead or alive for the next 5 years. They aim to map the current and historic distribution of Ireland mammals and create a baseline for future comparison.

Website Quote :
This is an exciting new initiative which presents species accounts and distribution maps of the wild mammals that occur in Ireland and its territorial waters. The initiative pulls together data from existing recording initiatives and datasets to provide an overview of the current and historic distribution of Irish mammals. One of the primary aims of the initiative is to encourage recording of the commoner Irish mammals, so that a comprehensive picture of their distribution is achieved by 2015. This will then provide a baseline against which future changes to distribution can be tracked.

For more see
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  09.12.11, 2.13pmhrs  |  reported by admin1
  Buzzard Tagging Porject

Dec 2011 : buzzard wing tag project

Eimear Rooney from Queen’s University, Belfast has initiated a long-term wing-tagging programme of Common buzzards this year in Northern Ireland.

The colours of the wing-tags are in co-ordination with the Buzzard Wing-Tagging Scheme across the rest of the UK and ROI. Northern Irish birds have a yellow tag on their right wing and for this year (2011) all buzzards tagged carry an orange tag on their left wing.

Eimear would appreciate it if you could report any sightings of wing-tagged buzzards to me at buzzardsni@hotmail.co.uk or on +447743068931.

She has already had a recent report (6/12/11) of one of the tagged birds found dead at Rush, Co. Dublin. The individual had been spotted at an earlier stage, in the same area, with a second tagged juvenile, so these birds are moving considerable distances.

Reports will allow ecologists to better understand juvenile movements and survival rates, as well as life-time reproductive success and mating strategies as the years move on.
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  18.11.11, 10.08amhrs  |  reported by admin1
  Inch Lake Controversy

Inch wetland reserve is fast becoming a controversial battleground between bird conversationalists, shooting enthusiasts and walkers. The sites extensive network of walkways interspersed with bird hides and viewing platforms has become a Mecca for bird watchers from all over the island. This increased access has reignited a long running debate between bird watchers and resident gun clubs who have used the lake for wildfowling for at least the past two hundred years. Questions have been asked about the management priorities of the site and how a balance can be struck for all users while maintaining the sites integrity for wildlife conservation.

Many of the visiting and local birding community would like to see a total cessation of wildfowling on the lake. They believe the site is so important to migratory birds that shooting should be closed indefinitely. The site has recently featured in ‘Wings’ the magazine of Birdwatch Ireland and is now recognised as one of Irelands and North West Europe’s premier winter birding sites. Local Inishowen wildlife club member Dermot McLoughlin articulated this view in local print media and on the Sean Doherty show, Highland Radio.

The Inch reserve wildfowling club is a new organisation born out of previous concern for unregulated shooting access on the site. The regional game council assisted the national parks and wildlife service (NPWS) in coming to an agreement that the four neighbouring townland gun clubs would form a joint organisation to manage the shooting under strict guidance from NPWS. In the past the lake was viewed as a free for all with many shooters travelling from outside the state to shoot there. Buncrana gun club who traditionally believed they had claim to shooting rights on the lake were not part of the new organisation. The new club has strict rules with set shooting times, limited days and a maximum numbers of shooter set at 12 for any one time, as well as significantly reduced bag limits. Many believe that the new club has in recent years successfully transformed the shooting practices on the lake, however controversy still surrounds the decision to open up An Grianan farm to a number of the clubs. This ground was traditionally kept as a disturbance free zone for wildfowl.

The effects of all these changes in a relatively short a space of time has renewed the debate amongst user groups and stakeholders. No – one knows how increased access, regular walkers, restricted shooting, increased bird watchers and an extensive farm management plan between Donegal Creameries and NPWS have effected the site. We can speculate as to the reasons for changes in behaviour and movements, but until someone undertakes a comprehensive study on human usage and aligns or compares that with wildlife usage, negative or positive relationships or trends will remain unknown.

Could it be time to undertake such a study and revisit the core issues surrounding the site? How will NPWS try to balance the sites user demands and maintain the cordial relationships established in recent years? With strong lobbying by all sides there is one thing for certain Inch Lake is set to maintain its place as Lough Swilly’s premier natural visitor attraction for some time to come.
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  18.11.11, 10.08amhrs  |  reported by admin1
  Geese Stay Put

Lough Swilly’s extensive network of wetland sites is witnessing a dramatic change in wildlife migration. Flocks of Geese and Swans traditionally use the area as a two or three week feeding stop on their journey further south. This year they are taking advantage of the increase in rich organic pastures and un-harvested grain by extending their stay. Numbers of Greenland White Fronted geese and Whooper swans are up significantly on previous years with some unusual influxes of Brent geese to daytime high-tide roosting on Inch lake.

We can only speculate as to the reasons, but many of the geese have been recorded feeding on the large amounts of un-harvested grain that remain in the fields due to the wet weather during this years harvest period. The substantial setting of Organic grass by Donegal creameries at An Grianan Farm is another possible catalyst for the change in seasonal migration. It is unknown how long the birds will stay and how the inevitable drop in temperature during the coming months will affect numbers. Food availability and energy expenditure through heat loss/ temperature are the main driving forces behind the bird’s migratory movements. It will be very interesting to see which will take precedence in the coming months.
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  18.11.11, 10.07amhrs  |  reported by admin1
  Sea Eagles Soar

The sightings of Ireland’s largest raptor the White Tailed or ‘Sea’ Eagle are now becoming an everyday occurrence on Inishowen. Reports of solitary fly-bys and soaring pairs with and without tags have become so common that on hearing of them resident wildlife enthusiasts just nod their head and puff their colloquial chest out a little more. This reaction is quite different from the recent past when hysterically jumping into ones car wide eyed at the prospect was the norm.

Even before the start of the Golden Eagle Trust reintroduction project based in Kerry Inishowen hosted numerous Scottish birds for short periods. These birds proved elusive and difficult to record but nonetheless sightings did occur. At the time the rarity of the birds and the hopeful prospect by conversationalists that the species might establish themselves naturally on the peninsula prevented widespread notification of the events. Some of the more infamous sightings were in 2007 and 2008 when a Scottish bird was recorded feeding for over two weeks on Inishtrahull island. Resident lighthouse workmen watched the bird with the naked eye and stated they could walk within a few hundred yards before he or she would be sufficiently bothered to move off.

Times have changed since those days, from the start of the reintroduction project Inishowen has seen a steady influx from the south. Numerous birds were satellite tracked passing through the peninsula on their prospecting trips to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Now however we find ourselves with probable resident birds. Although still of immature age one of these birds has recently been seen hunting over Lough Foyle. Fishing is an acquired skill for this eagle type and one of the key milestones in the animal’s five juvenile years. Possibilities of a breeding pair within the next three to five years are good. So keep your eye out for the largest addition to Inishowen’s and Ireland’s extensive repertoire of magnificent raptors.

For more information see www.goldeneagle.ie
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