EVENTS

Members Reports and Photos

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LUCAN DEMESNE AND ST CATHERINE’S PARK

SATURDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER

LEADER: CHRIS MORIARTY

It 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.

Plants 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.

Much 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.

Insects 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!
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©Photos mainly by Pat Lenihan

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