22nd June 2017
Citizen Scientists sought to monitor butterflies on Girley Bog, Co. Meath
Girley Bog NHA in County Meath is a haven for wildlife. During the spring and summer months visitors to the bog can experience the wonderful diversity of species flying around the site. To help record this amazing biodiversity the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC), with support from Meath County Council, have developed a permanent butterfly monitoring transect on Girley Bog. This transect will be used to identify and count butterflies on a weekly basis as part of the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme run by the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC).
The next stage of this project is to train citizen scientists to identify and monitor butterflies on Girley Bog. These trained volunteers will have the ability to count and record butterflies along the established transect on a weekly basis during the 6 month butterfly season each year.
IPCC would like to invite any interested members of the public to attend a butterfly monitoring workshop on Girley Bog on Friday 30th June between 12pm-4pm. The meeting point will be at Causey Farm at 12pm. The workshop will include a walk on Girley bog where participants will have the chance to identify butterflies and learn about their ecology and habitat preferences. IPCC staff will describe and demonstrate butterfly monitoring techniques and will discuss the importance of monitoring schemes on sites such as Girley Bog. Participants will become citizen scientists trained to monitor butterflies and contribute to the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
The Large Heath Butterfly (Coenonympha tullia) can be found on Girley Bog. The Large Heath is a species that is confined to bog habitats and has therefore, lost much of its habitat due to drainage, afforestation, peat extraction and turf cutting. It has been listed as threatened in the Red List of Irish Butterflies that was published in 2010. The Large Heath is the only Irish butterfly with a threat status (Vulnerable) listed in the European Red List of Butterflies. Given that the Large Heath is a raised bog habitat specialist and an umbrella species demonstrating the presence of healthy populations of other invertebrates on raised bogs, it is important that we learn more about its abundance on Girley Bog. This butterfly-monitoring scheme will allow IPCC to monitor the Large Heath population on Girley Bog.
‘Girley Bog is a great place to observe butterflies. Training citizen scientists from the local community will help IPCC record butterflies on Girley Bog and contribute to the NBDC’s Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and Butterfly Atlas’ says Katie Geraghty, IPCC’s Conservation Officer.
This project is kindly supported by Meath County Council under their Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2017. For more information about the butterfly monitoring scheme on Girley Bog or to book a place on the butterfly workshop on June 30th please contact Katie at email@example.com