5 Coastal explorations to enjoy this Biodiversity Week

15th May 2017

Biodiversity week is about to begin!

Over the course of ten days, 19th – 28th May, over 50 free events will be taking place all across the country. These celebrate Ireland’s wide range of habitats that allow for so many species to thrive here. This week provides a fantastic opportunity to explore our land and sea.

Ireland has a coastline that varies from towering cliffs eroding into the sea, through muddy or rocky beaches, to silky sandy shores. The coastline and it’s surrounding waters provide rich feeding grounds for many species and gives us the chance to interact with an amazing array of wildlife.

The coastline is the place to be for a chance to see whales and dolphins, otters and eagles, seabirds, waders and dippers, miniature creatures that make their home in the sea and shore, and the environment that all of these thrive in.

Here are five free events to get involved in around Ireland’s coast this biodiversity week:

1. Explore the Shore: a closer look at rocky shore biodiversity – Waterford

Marie Power, author of The Sea Garden, will guide an exploration of the flora and fauna of the rocky shore of Copper Coast Strand. Discover this beautiful coastline and it’s flora and fauna, and learn how to identify edible seaweeds.

Hosted by the Irish Wildlife Trust, this event will be taking place on beach and rocky shore terrain, so please wear waterproof, slip-proof footwear and weather-appropriate clothing.

Date: May 27th  – Time: 1.00pm till 2.30pm – Meeting point: Outside Mother McHughs in Fenor village – Contact: conservation@iwt.ie

2. Wicklow walking shores: Fascinating Biodiversity – Wicklow

Join Coastwatch Ireland for a looped walk of the Wicklow Murrough, learning about habitats and species which are adapting to changes from development.

The walk will begin on the seaward side of the loop, moving to the muddy sheltered side. These varied habitats provide a home to many species, some of which will be encountered on the walk.

This is a family event. It will be led by Karin Dubsky, marine biologist, and Deirdre Burns, heritage and biodiversity officer for Co. Wicklow who both have a wealth of knowledge to share. This is sure to be an inspiring walk.

Date: May 26th – Time: 4.00pm till 6.00pm – Meeting place: The Murrough, Wicklow Town – Contact: kdubsky@coastwatch.org

3. Whale Watch – Clare

Find out about Irish whales and dolphins on a free land-based whale watch guided by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

Learn about the field-craft behind whale watching and how best to identify the different species that can be seen off Clare. There will also be a range of whale artifacts and discussion on whale and dolphin biology, ecology and IWDG’s ongoing research on Irish whales and dolphins.

Limited optics will be provided on the day. Please wear suitable walking shoes and bring a light rain jacket, sunglasses, sunscreen and water.

Date: May 21st – Time: 3.00pm till 5.00pm – Meeting place: Loop Head – Contact: generalmanager@iwdg.ie

Similar events are also being hosted in Kilrush, Clare, Fenit, Kerry. and Grattan Shore, Galway.

4. Beenbawn Head Nature Walk – Kerry

Bernard Goggin is a naturalist working with An Taisce with a lifetime’s experience of nature. He will lead you to the beach through a spectacular canyon-like passage that has been created over centuries by farmers collecting sand and seaweed.

On the walk you will be introduced to the plants that thrive in the salty ocean waters, and to the groups of plants and animals that live here together. Oceanic seabirds, such as Fulmars, Gannets, and Black Guillemots, and also cliff nesting landbirds, including Choughs and Rock Doves, will hopefully be encountered en route.

Date: May 28th – Time: 2.00pm till 4.00pm – Meeting place: Beenbawn Beach car park, 3km East of Dingle – Contact: bgoggin39@hotmail.com

Bernard will also sharing his knowledge at a nature walk on May 21st at Inch Beach, Kerry.

5. The living and the dead of Hook Head – Wexford

Coastwatch Ireland invites you to explore the cove at low tide and discover what creatures live on this shore. Search for blue rayed limpets and dip into rock pools. Hear a talk on fossils and take part in a fossil hunt. Take a break for tea and a picnic in Hook Head Lighthouse.

This event involves rough terrain so please be prepared.

Date: May 28th – Time: 2.00pm till 5.00pm – Meeting place: Hook Head Lighthouse – Contact: kdubsky@coastwatch.org

There are a lot of events happening all over Ireland. With bat walks, bee keeping, dolphin talks and eco-village tours there’s something for everyone. Click here to see a full list of events!

About the Author

Catherine O'Toole

Catherine is a contributor to the Green News. She has a BA in Photography from DIT and has a keen interest in conservation photography.

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