Members Reports and Photos
DEMESNE AND ST CATHERINE’S PARK
was a glorious September day with temperatures reaching into the mid-twenties.
Our meeting took us along the banks of the Liffey and as water levels were low
we were able to walk across the weir to the waterfall and also view the
limestone rock exposures. The prolific harvest of autumn fruits was
everywhere evident from Oak, Ash and Beech to Hawthorn and Rose. Some of the
fine Beech trees on the former estates look as if they are nearing the end of
their lifespan which is considered to be 140-150 years and an early indicator of
senescence is the arrival of bracket fungus. Some of the larger pedunculate oak,
probably of similar age, are still in their youth.
noted in the river included the pink Flowering-rush Butomus umbellatus
(NOT a rush), Arrowhead Sagittaria sagittaria and Monkeyflower Mimulus
guttatus an escape that has spread down the Liffey and Dodder.
Indian Balsam Impatiens glandulifera, very much an invasive
species in some places, was still in flower and Ivy Broomrape Orobanche
hederae a plant lacking chlorophyll and parasitic on ivy roots.
of St Catherin’es Wood is composed of Beech Fagus sylvatica, with some
Ash, Hazel and Sycamore. Beech was typically planted in Estates in
Ireland, although it is considered to be native in the south of England. The
general absence of flora under dense Beech wood is attributable to the length of
the season when its foliage excludes light. In the more lightly shaded areas of
mixed deciduous woodlands plants such as Hart’s-tongue Fern Asplenium
scolopendrium and Holly Ilex
aquifolium do manage to grow.
seen included Speckled Wood butterflies, Hoverflies and one Forest Shieldbug Pentatoma
rufipes. Circling and gliding overhead was a Buzzard/s, a raptor which have
come much more plentiful in recent years. The surprise of the day was the
appearance of a foraging Daubenton’s Bat from under the footbridge near
Leixlip and its persistence. The conclusion was that it had for some reason
missed supper and needed a snack!
©Photos mainly by Pat Lenihan
return to outings