Kildare Wetland Survey 2014

During May the Kildare wetland survey turned up some interesting finds on a wide range of wetlands and associated habitats in the county. These included:

SAM 2698

An area of active raised bog on Mulgeeth Bog north of Allenwood.

SAM 2692

Dark Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Dicallomera fascelina on Mulgeeth Bog.

SAM 2624

Breeding pairs of Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) were found on both Kilglass Quarry and Punchestown Racecourse, rather unusual breeding locations for a species normally associated with coastal shingle beach habitats.

SAM 2774 2

Over 400 Newts were recorded from the Kilsaran quarry at Usk, where the company has been undertaking wetland restoration work designed by Faith Wilson to benefit this species.... without a doubt a success story !

SAM 3019

And in the middle of the Punchestown Race Course grounds ... a very unexpected transition mire area. 

SAM 2654 2

And finally these unusual spider egg cases wrapped in black silk and attached to Sparganium emersum leaves from the ponds at Moyvalley Golf Course.


Stages in the creation of a peat dam across a raised bog surface drain

In May 2014 I visited Ballysooghan raised bog in Co. Kildare to observe the restoration work to block an extensive drain network on the bog surface, which is being undertaken at the site. Shown here are the stages in the creation of a peat dam to block a recently installed surface drainage ditch on this raised bog. Thanks to Bord na Mona for facilitating the site visit. 

Peat dam 1

1: A section of bank composed of surface scraw and catotelm peat is removed from either side of drainage ditch and place behind excavator.

Peat dam 2

2: Surface vegetation is removed from behind excavator, to expose saturated wet catotelm peat.

Peat dam 3

3: Saturated wet catotelm peat is repeatedly removed from borrow pit behind excavator and placed in the drain. 

Peat dam 4

4: Removal of wet saturated catotelm peat from borrow pit behind excavator.

Peat dam 5

5: Peat dam is raised above surrounding peat surface (this allows for future shrinkage of the dam).

Peat dam 6

6: Peat dam is covered with living surface scraw materials taken from margins of drain. This helps re-growth of surface vegetation on the catotelm peat of the dam.

Peat dam 7

7: Peat dam is lightly "tapped down" to stabilise it and remove any cavities to ensure it is impermeable to the flow of water and will make a good seal.

Peat dam 8

8: Borrow pit is back filled with peat removed from edge of drain at the start of the process and the surface scraws removed from the area initially.

Peat dam 9

9: Completed dam with digger moving forward to the location of the next drain.

Peat dam 10

10: Appearance of completed peat dam created approximately 2 weeks earlier. Note the raised water table in drain, relative to the water level in the still functional drain seen in stage 3 photograph above.

Killorglin Biodiversity Survey reveals the occurrence of a number invasives

American skunk cabbage

As part of the viodiversity survey of Killorglin in May a total of 24 different habitat types were recorded in the environs of the town. Of the habitats recorded; the river, lake, estuary, woodland, reed bed, salt marsh, and rocky shore are of most importance from a biodiversity perspective. The current survey identified 228 species of mainly terrestrial flora and fauna as occurring within the study area. This includes 162 species of higher plants (mostly native species); 15 fern and related species; 9 mosses and liverworts; 1 seaweed species; 26 bird species; 2 mammals and 6 species of insects.

Five invasive alien species were recorded as likely to have a significant impact on biodiversity:

·       Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) which is having a moderate impact on the hedgerow and scrub woodland habitats by shading out native species.

·       Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) which is abundant within the town and is significantly impacting on the marginal habitats associated with the river.

·       American Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) which was recorded in sections of wet woodland along the Steel Bridge Walk and which frequently occurred in the wet willow-alder-ash woodland to the south of the town which is part of the Castlemaine Harbour SAC.

·       Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria) which was the least frequent invasive species and was recorded in a grassland area adjacent to the car park just south of the town and was also recorded along the eastern banks of the River Laune, south of the town.

·       Krauss's Clubmoss (Selaginella kraussiana) which was recorded in the wet woodland to the south of the town. 

© Peter Foss 2012