Some recent wildlife finds from Devon

During the second half of July I visited Devon and made a number of trips to The Royal Horticultural Gardens at Rosemoor, Woolacombe beach, Ifracombe and Baggy Point a coastal headland reserve managed by the National Trust. Photographs from the trip are presented in my Picasa photographic gallery which can be accessed here  

An interesting find on areas of low gorse scrub and bramble bushes at Baggy Point was the spider Neoscona adianta, with its very distinct and striking abdominal pattern. The distribution of this orb spider is in the southern most part of the UK. It is not reported as occurring in Ireland in the NBDC website. Perhaps a species to look out for in Ireland if temperatures continue to rise.

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The visit to the RHS garden at Rosemoor was a superb floral extravaganaza … with some of the gardens challenging Chelsea.  But for me the large wild flower meadows that the RHS has created within the gardens being a true highlight of the visit. The wild flower meadow shown below contains the striking pink/purple flowered labiate Betonica officinalis (Betony).

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And of course no summer trip would be complete without a day on the beach. And at Woolacombe it was the turn of jellyfish to impress! Shown below is the Compass Jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella) with its striking brown radial pattern. This species stings so maybe worth taking extra care if you come across it in Irish waters during the summer. 

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Wild Tour of Ireland with Liam Lysaght

Liam Lysaght photograph

Join Liam Lysaght, Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre on a trip around Ireland to  celebrate Ireland’s wildlife. The aim of the tour is to cycle around the island of Ireland, a  distance of  some 3,200km within a month, each day visiting some of Ireland’s special wildlife sites and highlighting what is special about them. At many of the sites Liam will meet with local experts or enthusiasts who will give their personal insights to what the sites mean to them.

As Liam says "Ireland’s wildlife gets bad press. Almost always, conservation is presented negatively; controversies about developments that damage wildlife, gloomy reports of species under threat of extinction, compensation for managing land for conservation, and so forth. It is a personal frustration of mine that rarely is Ireland’s special wildlife presented in a positive manner, or all that is good about wildlife celebrated. We have a unique and special natural heritage – this tour presents a personalised perspective on some of what is special about Ireland’s wildlife and an attempt to share this experience with a wider audience."

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Extinct moss refound on Clara bog

George Smith has made a great discovery on Clara Bog, he recently found a small population of waved fork-moss (Dicranum undulatum), a plant up until then thought to be extinct in Ireland.  It was previously known from only four other raised bogs in Offaly.  Last seen in Ireland in 1960, its known sites have been seriously damaged by peat harvesting.  The sites and other raised bogs in Offaly that were in reasonable condition were searched fruitlessly for the plant over 2005-2009.  Because the only known populations could not be found again and because of the damage caused to raised bogs in the area due to turf cutting, waved fork-moss was judged to be extinct in Ireland in the recent book on the Rare and Threatened Bryophytes of Ireland.

Find out more at Blackthorn Ecology.

© Peter Foss 2012