EVENTS

Members Reports and Photos

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SUNDAY 28th JULY 2013

ABBEYLEIX BOG

LEADER: CHARLES SHIER & KATY DUFF

This was the second visit by the Field Club to Abbeyleix within three years and it again proved to be a very interesting area. We were joined by local people including members of the Community Group. Considerable work has been done by the latter with regard to blocking of drains and it will be interesting to see the affects over the next the decade and whether the efforts to reverse the dehydration of the bog will have a positive impact on its activity.  See www.abbeyleixbog.ie for further information.

A number of Sphagnum mosses, including Sphagnum cuspidatum and S. magellanicum where seen. Bog Rosemary Andromeda polifolia was surprisingly plentiful. The only Sundew seen was Drosera rotundifolia. Two species of Cotton-grass Eriophorum angustifolium and E. vaginatum and White-beaked Sedge Rhynchospora alba were plentiful. The heathers were Ling Calluna vulgaris and Cross-leaved Heather Erica tetralix.

Along the former railway line butterflies were plentiful – Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue - and all were able to observe at close quarters the magnificent male Silver-washed Fritillaries nectaring on Knapweed Centaurea nigra. One eldery battered female was observed. A plant of special interest was the parasitic Ivy Broomrape Orobanche  hederae. Others included Marjoram Origanum vulgare, Figwort Scrophularia nodosa, Eupatorium cannabinum and Aspen Populus tremula. Fragrant orchids Gymnadenia conopsea were seen in considerable abundance.

Dragonflies and Damseflies were in flight with the Common Hawker Aeshna juncea most prominently patrolling and the occasional Demoiselle and Common Blue . One (large) beetle cf Carabus granulatus was noted near the edge of a sphagnum pool. The Large Marsh Grasshopper Stethophyma grossus was found by Dorothy Lyle in its Sphagnum-Rhynchspora habitat – a first sighting for many  of this under-recorded species in Midland bogs. This yellow and red grasshopper is Ireland’s largest and apparently capable of jumping and flying for up to fifteen metres at a time. The other find of the day was the Tortoise Bug which Niamh Lennon first spotted and proved to be present as both adults and nymphs on the Great Sedge Carex paniculata.

    Ivy Broomrape     male Silver-washed Fritillary

Shieldbug    Spider  Icf. Carabis granulatus

Cocoon on Quaking Grass    Teneral Darter Dragonfly   

photographs © dnfc

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