Tipperary to host ‘bioblitz’ at Cabragh Wetlands

You may have seen RTE’s coverage of four official Bioblitz events this weekend, when expert naturalists (plus the ubiquitous Mooney) descended on four sites across the country to see how many species of plant, mammal, insect, bird, fish, lichen, fungus et al. could be found over a 24 hour period.

You may have seen RTE’s coverage of four official Bioblitz events this weekend, when expert naturalists (plus the ubiquitous Mooney) descended on four sites across the country to see how many species of plant, mammal, insect, bird, fish, lichen, fungus et al. could be found over a 24 hour period.

Well, the great news is that Tipperary is hosting its own official Bioblitz at Cabragh Wetlands, kicking off at 5.00pm on Friday 7th June and finishing off exactly as the clock ticks round to 5.00pm on Saturday 8th.

This is one of six secondary bioblitzes being held on the same day under the auspices of the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford, and the challenge to see just how many species can be found at Cabragh will be both a fun day out for the family and a great educational opportunity for everyone. Fuller details of timings and events will be posted on the website later this week – www.cabraghwetlands.ie. There will be a raffle, shop and refreshments.

If your interest is in plants, then Roger Goodwillie and Ann Lloyd will help you. John Fogarty, Dan Hogan and Albert Nolan will be heading the search for insects, Alex Copland and Malcolm Tanner for birds, Kevin Collins, Michelle O’Neill and others will lend their varied talents to identify grasses and lichens, pond life and trees.

There is always room for more expertise. Come along, pick up an identification key and head out into the wetlands to see what you can find. Teachers could use this as a great chance to improve their identification skills and to assess the potential of Cabragh Wetlands as a site for class work and Young Scientist Projects.

If you haven’t looked around Cabragh before, then this is your chance. We will have a session on wild flowers and pollinators on Friday evening, put out insect traps and as darkness falls we’ll watch the owls and search for bats. Birdwatch members will be out at dawn, with some ringing as well as observing early fliers and catching the dawn chorus. An otter search plus a pellets, pooh and footprints walk should sharpen the appetite, and the overnight moth traps will be opened early.

For the family we’ll have owl pellets to dissect and study under the microscope, butterfly and insect nets to see what you can catch, ponds and the lake will be dipped all day to identify plants and aquatic creatures. Mammal traps will reveal some of our smaller animal inhabitants, and the Inland Fisheries will be here to electro-stun sections of the Suir and Killough rivers as they pass through the wetlands. All the while that tally board count will be creeping ever higher. Your input will make a difference, and we hope to see you at Cabragh Wetlands’ Bioblitz.