Species of the Month

Species of the Month – April

“The cuckoo comes in April; he sings his song in May……..”  This bird is more likely to be heard than seen and for many people its song is a sign that summer is on the way. If you hear (or see) a cuckoo please submit your record online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or email records@wexfordnaturalists.com

  (Photo Cuckoo, Chris Wilson archive)

 

March Recording

The weather may still feel wintry but it will not be long before our first migrant birds return to Ireland to breed. As the temperatures rise (hopefully!!) butterflies will come out and queen bumblebees will be seen searching for nest sites. This month, instead of just one species, we have something for the birders, the plant lovers and those with an eye for insects. We want you to record your first Swallow (who will have the first record for the county and when?!) or other spring migrants. Where you see your first butterflies and bumblebees. Keep a note of the spring flowering plants such as Lesser Celandine, Primrose and Common Dog-violet and submit your records online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or email records@wexfordnaturalists.com

 (Photo Wheatear, Chris Wilson Archive)

 

Species of the Month For December we want to encourage you to take part in Birdwatch Ireland’s Garden Bird Survey. This survey takes place between December and February each year and very little experience is required. It is a great way to get to know your garden birds better. For more information check out www.birdwatchireland.ie/Ourwork/Researchmonitoring/GardenBirdSurvey/tabid/121/Default.aspx

You can spend as little or as much time as you like recording but if you don’t want to commit to the survey please send your records for garden birds, or indeed any species, to records@wexfordnaturalists.com  or enter the details online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission

blackbirds_0061-photo-pat-doyle Photo by Pat Doyle

 

 

Our November Species of the Month is RedwingTurdus iliacus.

Redwing

This member of the thrush family is a common winter visitor to Ireland with birds from Iceland and Scandinavia arriving in October and departing again in March and early April. The whitish stripe above the eye and beneath the cheek and the orange-red patches on the flank make it distinctive. It feeds in fields and hedgerows but can visit gardens in urban areas in very cold weather. If you see, or hear, this bird please post your records here, enter the details online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or email records@wexfordnaturalists.com .  

 

The Species of the Month for October is Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica.  

knotweed-japanese Photo by Zoe Devlin

This is an invasive herbaceous perennial which can be seen growing on roadsides, waste ground, in woodland and along waterways. It can grow to over 3m in height and quickly forms dense thickets which shade out native plant species and block routes for wildlife. As it grows it has a green bamboo like stem with red flecks. The triangular/heart shaped leaves are arranged in a zig-zag pattern on the stem. Clusters of small creamy-white flowers can be seen from August to October. In winter, when the leaves have died back, brown cane-like stems can be seen still standing or lying on the ground. If you see this plant please post your records here, enter the details online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or email records@wexfordnaturalists.com . Once the record has been validated it will be made available online at maps.biodiversityireland.ie/

Records from non club members are always welcome.

For more information on Japanese Knotweed see www.wildflowersofireland.net/ and www.invasivespeciesireland.com/ To see answers to ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ about this species see www.biodiversityireland.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/JapaneseKnotweed_FAQ_24082016-2.pdf

Our Species of the Month for September is the Hedgehog –  Erinaceus europaeus.  The Hedgehog habitat is mainly hedgerows, woodlands and meadows but it is often found in gardens where it feeds on invertebrates including earthworms and slugs. Hedgehogs also feed on fruits and berries when these food sources are readily available.

Hedgehog-(1-of-1)Photo curtesy of Edno Delaney.

Please help the club record the distribution of this animal in the county. If you spot them please post your recordshere, enter the details online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or emailrecords@wexfordnaturalists.com

Road kill records can also be submitted. Records from non club members are always welcome.

For the August Species of the Month we turn our attention once again to the Club’s next publication “The Ladybirds and Shieldbugs of County Wexford” and we are asking for your help to record ladybirds. To help you identify the different species Identification Swatches can be purchased at Club events.  If you see any ladybird species during the month please send the details to records@wexfordnaturalists.com  enter them online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or post your record here.

7 spot Ladybird

Photo: 7-spot Ladybird by Saoirse McDonnell

 

Our Species of the Month for July is the Red Fox Vulpes vulpes. Foxes are mainly nocturnal but may sometimes be seen during the day. If you spot this species please post your records here, enter them online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or email records@wexfordnaturalists.com Road kill records can also be submitted.  You don’t have to be a club member to take part, records from non members are always welcome.

Photo by Edno Delaney

Photo by Edno Delaney

 

Species of the Month June: This month we want you to help us record for the Club’s next publication “The Ladybirds and Shieldbugs of County Wexford”.  The focus for June is the Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum). This is a distinctive purple and green shieldbug and is covered in fine hairs. The antennae and flanks have black and white bands. Hairy Shieldbugs can be found in dry, warm sites including grassy bases of hedgerows and amongst low shrubs. It can also be found in flowerbeds. If you see this species, or any other shieldbug, post your record here, email the details to records@wexfordnaturalists.com or enter your sighting online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission

Hairy Shield Bug Photo by Dave Daly

To coincide with the Club’s Dawn Chorus event, to be held at The Raven on Sunday 15th May, this month our focus for recording is on birds. We want your records for any birds you see or hear in the county. Why not pick a day and record the birds in your garden or those you encounter when out for a walk in the countryside, in woodland or near the seashore? Don’t worry if you cannot recognise all the birds, just take note of the ones you do know and post your records here, enter them online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission or emailrecords@wexfordnaturalists.com You don’t have to be a club member to take part, records from non members are always welcome.

Robin-and-pheasant-(1-of-1)

Photo by Edno Delaney

 

Thanks to everyone who submitted records of Primrose during March. There are still a number of areas in the county where the plant is under recorded so keep those records coming in.

Our “Species of the Month” for April isthe Orange Tip butterfly – Anthocharis cardamines

The males are easily recognised with a bright orange patch on the forewing. The female can be mixed up with other whites but the underwing of both sexes has distinct ‘green marbling’. Its preferred larval food plant is Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), also known as Lady’s Smock, so if you see this plant don’t forget to record the details also.  

Orange Tip (female)Photos by Chris WilsonOrange Tip (male)

Records can be posted to club address, emailed to  records@wexfordnaturalists.com or entered online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission

 

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Today 1st March, we launch a new recording initiative and we want YOU to help us improve our information on Wexford’s flora and fauna.  Over the coming months we will post photos of species that can be found relatively easily in our countryside so very little experience will be required.

This month we want to gather as many records as possible of Primrose  (primula vulgaris). Records especially welcome from the northern half of the county where this plant has been under recorded since 2000. Sightings of this, or any other species, can be emailed to records@wexfordnaturalists.com or entered online at wexfordnaturalists.com/recording/records-submission