Wild About Wildlife: The green heart of the community

Albert Nolan

Reporter:

Albert Nolan

Wild About Wildlife: The green heart of the community

The orange tip butterfly: Butterfly populations are down by almost 40%

Getting into the heart of a community, can bring to light some of Limerick’s, best kept nature secrets. One of these hidden oases, was recently revealed by Sean Hartigan, Green party candidate for East Limerick, who was out canvassing, in the Caislean Na hAbhainn housing estate. Sean has been busy, listening and chatting to people, on their doorstep. He is building up a first-hand picture of the environmental and social issues that residents are concerned about.

He also noticed how the Caislean estate is packed full of nature. As part of his wildlife strategy, he organised a nature walk for the residents to highlight the great work and encourage other estates to do similar projects.

This was done through his very innovative, An Taisce Living Limerick programme. This continues to engage with schools, community groups and families, encouraging all the participants, to connect and enjoy nature. One of the real successes of Living Limerick, has been to bring together a group of people, who have a passion and knowledge, for sharing the natural world with others.

Sean started off by handing out butterfly nets, and showing the kids how to catch insects. He also explained that the abundance of wildflowers, trees and grasses provides food and shelter for countless insects and birds. When we manicure our lawns, it creates a green desert that supports practically no life. Sean said he had recently read a report that revealed a drop, in some common butterfly populations by almost 40%.

Soon everyone was catching Orange Tips, Speckled Woods and small Tortoiseshells. We also swept the long grass with nets, and found a very well-camouflaged, green shield bug.

We were also joined by weaver Pete Beaumont, whose hands-on approach to natural education is backed up with great knowledge and an easy going manner. Pete showed the group how to make birds’ nests from willow.

Sean was joined by his wife and kids and he practices what he preaches at home. His boys loved catching spiders and bees and share his enthusiasm for insects.

We continued to explore the estate and on a Ceanothus shrub we found a worker bumblebee whose legs were covered in pollen.

The back is a real haven. Swards of nettles had dozens of butterfly caterpillar tents. We also found seven and 14 spot ladybirds. a peacock caterpillar and a massive queen red tailed bumblebee.

Pete showed us the different species of trees from ash, sycamore, apple/crab trees and elm. He also spotted a dazzling holly blue butterfly that lays its eggs on holly. We will be back again to do another workshop. Thanks to all the residents who supported the event.

Upcoming event

An Taisce Living Limerick: Explore the wildlife of Curraghchase. April 24. Wednesday from 11am. Explore the wildlife of Curraghchase with, Sean Hartigan, Pete Beaumont and Albert Nolan. We will be looking and listening for birds. We will investigate the creatures living in the lake and we will catch and identify bees, butterflies and other invertebrates. Suitable for children and adults who want to learn more about the wonders of nature. Meet at the car park at 11am.

Discover the wildlife of Castleconnell: Explore the wildlife of Castleconnell with Living Limerick. We will be looking and listening for birds. We will investigate the creatures living in the river and we will catch and identify bees, butterflies and other invertebrates. Meet at the ferry (car park next to playground).

For More

albert.nolan@rocketmail.com or 089 4230502.