CADOGAN ENRIGHT COMPLETES ISLAND ODYSSEY FOR BUTTERFLIES
Cllr Cadogan Enright has highlighted the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ as Wildlife Conservation activity that any family can participate in in their gardens or when out on fun trips to the beach or country.
“It only takes 15 minutes, it would be great to cover the whole County Down.” said Cllr Enright.
‘Healthy’ places should have lots of butterflies in lots of colours. This year, with the warm weather, there should be considerably more butterflies to see than ever before on the count. You can log onto the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ website, print out ID sheets with easy to recognise pictures, and record your results at http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/about until Monday 12th August
Cadogan Enright and his son Cad Óg have just returned from 5 days exploring Strangford Lough by canoe, camping on different islands each night while doing the Big Butterfly Count on every island around the Lough. Strangford Lough is one of our most important wildlife sites, protected as a marine nature reserve, SPA, SAC, Ramsar site, ASSI, AONB etc. The islands are sunken drumlins, a special land feature which County Down is famous for, produced by glaciers.
“We have family members working in ‘Outdoor Adventure Management’ on the Loch and in the Mourne Mountains, so we familiar with weather conditions, safety and land ownership issues”. Said Cllr Enright
“We counted most of the islands, including one not found on Google – Craigabheigh. This island and several around it were obviously used by geese for roosting at night. It was impossible to count all the butterflies that presented themselves in 15 minutes on some islands. We gave up counting on Parton after 5 minutes when we were overwhelmed by huge clouds of small spear shaped moths rising in the air across the island.
“Some islands had cattle grazing, and we eaten alive by horseflies and mighty glad of the 15 minute rule – this also dictated where we could camp. We avoided nesting areas, saw hundreds of Terns diving for fish and my son Cad Óg was blown away by aerial battles as a buzzard raided seabirds nests on a cliff at the Northern end of Inis Glas while I paddled to Dún Ui Neill. At night there were bats and we had old-fashioned sing-songs around a fire. Nature Conservation can be great fun.”
Bad weather and Southerly gales and rain disrupted the return journey by a night, and the Enrights were unable to count the areas around Inis tSagairt properly. “This was disappointing as counts have shown this island to be an astonishingly diverse habitat in the past. It should be a Nature Reserve in my view.” Said Cllr Enright.
Cad Óg said “It was a really great adventure. We will do this again next year for a whole week.”
The Big Butterfly Count contines that week and Identification Sheets and on-line reporting of your own garden or any location can be accessed at www.bigbutterflycount.org/about