The Irish Peatland Conservation Council are celebrating Heritage Week at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre between 11am and 2pm on Saturday the 20th of August with a fun family event, including an informative talk on Ireland’s native curlew and a visit to Lodge Bog where you can observe raised bog and the natural nesting habitat of this rare iconic bird.
Native curlew (Numenius arquata) have suffered widespread declines across their European range. Nowhere has this been as severe as in Ireland where studies have estimated an 86% decline over the last 25 years. While we may see large numbers of curlew along Irish coasts during the winter season the majority of these are overwintering birds and only those who move inland for summer are potential breeding resident birds. As a result of these declines the curlew has been put on the Irish Red List while the IUCN have classed the species as ‘Near Threatened’ on a global scale. Curlew are often associated with peatlands as they provide suitable nesting sites and often match the mosaic of habitats required for successful breeding ie. damp terrain, dry patches, open water and bare mud.
Lodge Bog, situated along the R414 between Allenwood and Rathangan is a local biodiversity nature reserve that receives over 2500 visitors per year seeking to experience the Bog of Allen. The 35 hectare site has supported a summer population of curlew for at least 10 years having being first recorded on the site in faunal surveys in 2005. IPCC are currently undertaking a monitoring program for the curlew on site which is sponsored by Kildare County Council.
“Curlew are a monogamous bird that show high site fidelity meaning that they will return to their home site when attempting to breed. This is encouraging for the Lodge Bog curlew as the adult pair are likely to return each year but conversely if they fail to successfully breed there will be no young to take their place in the future” says Tadhg Ó Corcora, Conservation Officer with the IPCC. “This open day co-incides nicely with the end of our monitoring program for 2016 so we should have a good grasp of the results to pass on to visitors on the day” he continued.
IPCC look forward to welcoming you to the Bog of Allen Nature Centre for this wildlife fun-filled day. There will also be plenty of nature activities for children such as pond dipping for mini-beasts and frog and newt searches in the wonderful wildlife gardens. Light refreshments will be provided at the centre. Admission is free and all are welcome. This event is kindly supported by Kildare County Council under their Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2016.