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Conservation News

The conservation work carried out on Lullybeg Reserve during 2011 consists of the grazing on the south side of the river and scrub clearance in the same area is described in the EVENTS REPORT and RESERVE NEWS. One unintended but beneficial side effect of the grazing is the creation of a pond as a result of heavy cattle poaching in and around a shallow drain. The area where this occurred is underlain by marl which is impermeable and the water is being retained. We hope that frogs and Smooth Newts breed in this pond along with dragonflies and other aquatic wildlife. We intend to keep the rides on the northern side of the reserve open and some clearing is needed in this area during 2012.Our partnership with the Burrenbeo Trust continues to bear fruit with vital scrub clearance on vital Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Marsh Fritillary habitat continuing to produce results; we also managed to get the Fahee North wet grassland site near Carron in County Clare grazed to ensure the Purple Moor-grass did not become rank. The site is now in superb condition for the Marsh Fritillary following grazing and scrub clearance and its suitability looks assured for the next five years even without intervention.

The intention is now to extend scrub clearance to the limestone pavement nearby in order to assist the specialist species that occur there such as the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth, Wood Tiger, Wood White and Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Selected areas will be cleared to create sunny clearings connected by rides to connect the breeding areas. The method employed is coppicing [where Hazel scrub is cut down to just above ground level]. This allows the Hazel to re-grow over time and knocks out nut production for a period. This is the approved management method in woods in Britain and has yielded great benefits for lepidoptera.

Following representations to the National Parks and Wildlife Service during 2010 to secure legal protection of a small number of the rarest Irish lepidoptera from collection without a licence we can report that Brian Nelson has processed the issue and referred the matter up the line for consideration. We look forward to the appropriate measures being taken to bring Ireland’s protection of rare lepidoptera in line with the protection given to rare species in the UK.

We have also made a strong submission to the Peatlands Council which the government established following the pressure applied by Europe and others to ensure the SACs and NHAs are properly protected. This submission can be read on the home page of our website at www.butterflyconservation.ie.

BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION IRELAND has, following generous donations by members, purchased a Robinson Moth Trap. This is available for use by members. Any member wishing to borrow the trap should contact Jesmond Harding. Philip Strickland has offered to visit the home of any member to identify the contents of the moth trap. Philip can be contacted by email at philip@moths.ie. to make arrangements to identify what you have attracted. I can assure everyone that moth trapping carried out on an overcast muggy night between April and September is a special experience.