19th April 2019
To mark Earth Day, an international day to educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) will be hosting an event on the 25th of April 2019, to prepare for the arrival of local conservation donkeys, Neddy and Lexi on Lullymore West as part of Féile an Dúlra. Meet at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre at 10am and become a Conservation Officer for the day. You will be able to assist the IPCC as we prepare the bog for the arrival of two local conservation donkeys who will graze the site throughout the Summer supporting the maintenance of a wet grassland habitat for butterflies.
Lullymore West is a butterfly sanctuary. Monitoring butterflies each year allows the IPCC to form a database on the species of butterflies present on the site, the time we are most likely to see them and most importantly their population numbers. Butterflies have a short lifecycle and are an indicator species. By assessing the butterfly population and presence of particular species, the IPCC can determine if the habitat is of good quality.
The Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurina), is a beautifully patterned species of butterfly that flies in late May and June. It lays 300 eggs on the underside of the leaves of the Devils’s-Bit Scabious. This is an important food plant for the Marsh Fritillary as the caterpillars feed on the leaves from August to late September. We manage the site for the Marsh Fritillary, Ireland’s only Annex II species. It was once widespread across Ireland but has since suffered a decline in population numbers. This species of butterfly requires extensive grazing from our conservation donkeys. This produces a variation in the lengths of short grasses to longer grasses.
Roll up those sleeves and become a Conservation Officer for a day by joining the IPCC as we make Lullymore West a suitable home for Neddy and Lexi for the next few months. You may even learn some new species of butterfly and it will be a great photo opportunity for any up and coming wildlife photographers.
Féile and Dúlra is IPCC’s annual festival of wildlife and nature events. It is supported by Kildare County Council through the Festival Grant Scheme.
Find out more about Earth Day by visiting https://www.earthday.org