26 April 2017

Come join us for a free talk by Gill Weymen. Held at IRD Duhallow from 7pm and refreshments will be provided. WE will follow the talk by a hunt for native ladybirds in the grounds of of the James O'Keeffe Institute and will record our findings as part of the 2017 All Ireland Ladybird Survey.

22 March 2017
Come join us for a free talk by Tom Ankettell from the Duhallow Angling Centre of Excellence. Held at IRD Duhallow from 7pm and refreshments will be provided. An evening to learn all about an area of outstanding angling and freshwater species!
22 March 2017
Spring is finally here, birds including robins, song thrushes and mistle thrushes are already singing, the buds of birch, oak and hazel are bursting, and flowers are blooming. The RaptorLIFE team are also rearing to go! The following provides a short update on what we are up to. Creation of wildlife corridor
17 February 2017
Come join us for a free talk by BirdWatch Ireland's John Lusby! Held at IRD Duhallow from 7pm and refreshments will be provided. An evening to learn all about our native owls and merlin!
13 February 2017

Winter is here, our native deciduous trees have lost their leaves, winter migrating bird species, such as redwings and Brent geese have arrived, and mammals are slowing down their activity. However, there is no rest for the RaptorLIFE team! The following provides a short update on what we have been up to.

Fencing of river banks

27 January 2017

HEN HARRIER PRODUCTIVITY AND NEST SUCCESS

A total of 39 sites were monitored across all regions as part of the satellite tagging projects with the highest fledging success rates in the Ballyhouras and the lowest in the Slieve Blooms. A high failure rate in the Blooms, with three pairs failing early in the season and predation proven or suspected in another four cases, contrasted with good nest success rates estimated for the Ballyhouras and Duhallow regions.

SATELLITE TAGGING IN 2016

23 September 2016
Juv male harrier Fionn at nest in Ballyhouras, Co. Cork, July 2016

This male was tagged on 7/7 at a site in the Ballyhoura Hills, North Cork, at approx. 28 days old. It’s nest site was in dense heather/gorse among 2nd rotation conifers, quite close to a used track high up the mountainside. This male was one of a brood of 3 that fledged successfully from the nest. After fledging he remained in the nest area for some weeks when he could be heard calling/begging for food and being fed by the adult female who was still on site.

23 September 2016
Nest site in Mullaghareirks, July 2016, Nest site in dense bramble/rush in forest ride, Mullaghareirks, July 2016

This female was tagged on the 15th of July at an approximate age of 24-26 days. The nest was located at a traditional bramble and rush site in the Mullaghareirk Mountains in Co. Cork. Monitored by both staff and volunteers as part of IRD Duhallow’s RaptorLIFE project, the chick was in a brood of 2 and was the heaviest of all the 10 chicks tagged this year.

23 September 2016
Juv harrier sat tagged in Mullaghareirks, Co. Kerry, July 2016

As part of this research 10 hen harrier chicks were tagged from ten different nests within the Slieve Blooms, Ballyhouras, Knockmealdown and Mullaghareirks mountains. Recent analysis of the incoming tracking data shows that that at least five of these birds are alive and well. Unfortunately, some of the tags are recording little to no activity (movement) indicating that these birds may have died. To date we have recovered one of the tagged chicks (a female from the Ballyhouras) but the precise cause of death was not conclusive.

23 September 2016
Stephen Murphy with 1st sat tagged harrier in the Ballyhouras, Tagging locations in 2016

Studying Irish hen harriers can be challenging. Many of us have taken part in the most recent national survey (2015) and enjoyed some great days out, perhaps the first sky-dancing male of the season or finding a pair at a new site or the first food-pass and female returning to a nest site. All this helps to give us a more or less complete picture of the status of Irish hen harriers and population trends over time (see Here). What has been shown to date is that nationally the species is declining while one or two subpopulations (eg. Slieve Blooms) appear to be relatively stable over time.