COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All material on this web-site is protected by international copyright law and remains the property of the respective contributors. For information about usage please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights reserved. Tipperary Yellowhammer Survey 2016
The Yellowhammer is a familiar farmland bird in County Tipperary. It’s distinctive song " a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese" is a well known sound in the countryside. Sadly, this song is no longer heard in large areas of the County. The Yellowhammer is in serious decline. The male bird has a bright lemon head and a streaked chestnut back. The female is similar but not as brightly coloured. In Summer the male always sings from a prominent perch and is fairly easy to locate. They build a beautiful nest of grass, lined with fine hairs, in a dense hedge. They usually lay three eggs and have two broods per year. The young chicks are fed on a diet of insects. However, outside of the breeding season, they are seed-eaters. This time of year they form into flocks and roam the stubble fields in the hope of gleaning some spilt grain. In fact, in Tipperary the Yellowhammer’s life is inextricably linked with cereal fields. In the breeding season they forage for invertebrate prey among the stems of barley and in the fallow headland. The hedgerows around cereal fields are usually no more than six feet high. Yellowhammers rarely nest in hedgerows taller than this. After the harvest spilt grain is easily found in the stubbles. Their close association to cereals is akin to that of the Corncrake and the hay meadow. Methods of cereal production have changed in recent years. Instead of ploughing and sowing in the Spring, a large proportion of cereals are now planted in the Autumn. This means that those all-important stubbles are no longer available for Winter food. The effects of insecticides and herbicides are difficult to quantify. The Yellowhammer has recently been declared the fastest declining farmland bird in Britain. To compound matters, the total area under tillage in Ireland is declining. Between 1980 and 1995 the total area under cereals decreased by 38.5%. In order to find out more about this farmland bird the Tipperary Branch of BirdWatch Ireland carried out a breeding survey during the Summer of 1997. We searched 560 randomly selected square kilometres throughout the County. We found 170 pairs and the mean density was 0.3 pairs per square kilometre. 58% of squares held no Yellowhammers at all. The birds were strongly associated with cereals and avoided all other habitat types.
We propose to repeat the survey in 2016 and we need your help. If you would like to help, please phone Kevin Collins on 087-2373090.
Monastery CBS Biodiversity Walk Report. The phrase: the long haul” has often been mentioned in relation to Tipperary towns aspirations in the Tidy towns award. Some of the work and projects we are currently undertaking will not bare fruition for many years but the long term investment is equally as important as the short term goal. The local schools have longed been identified as a vital part of any effort to protect and enhance biodiversity in Tipperary town. As part of the tidy town awards the Tipperary Branch of Birdwatch Ireland have engaged with local schools. Our aims are to encourage the children to take an active interest in the wildlife that shares their school grounds and the town. Also to encourage and support teachers in an area that many feel they no little about. The Monastery school is situated adjacent to the Tipperary hills and this is an ideal and safe environment for the students to learn about nature. Walks are held every two weeks with a different class covering birds, plants, lichens, moths and butterflies etc. These classes are more then just “this is a blackbird”. The students are presented with questions and they try and come up with the answers themselves. The enthusiasm and interest of the kids is infectious and they take great joy in finding a worm on the path or a snail in the long grass. The seed of wildlife is their it just needs time and knowledge to nurture it. As part of national tree week the students came to the hills and planted native trees and shrubs that will produce berries and flowers for birds, butterflies and moths. We also looked at the different trees in the hills and learned about the birds and flowers. One of the key messages is the food chain. If you have a good selection of wildflowers, this attracts insects that are eaten by song birds and these in turn are eaten by birds of prey. Nettles have a bad name but are very important as host plant for our butterflies. We have been showing the students the tiny caterpillars wrapped up in a nettle leaf and if we spray all the nettles our butterfly population will suffer. On our way back to the school we visit the local rookery located in the grounds of Dan Breen house. Here we observe the rooks nesting in the tall trees and learn that not all large black birds are Irish crows. Working with the students has been a highly enjoyable and educational experience. In ten years time we would hope to see some of these students engaged in positive work around protecting our precious wildlife.
Sightings from Tipperary Town. 20/04/2013.
Swallow flying above Super value car Park. Garden by Carpark. Goldfinch and Wren x 1 singing. River Ara by Creamery. Banks are covered in brambles and trees. Blackbird male carrying food, was white and looked like bread. . Flew into tree by river bank. Female might be brooding and male bringing her food?. Song Thrush searching for food on ramp down to the river. Chased by male blackbird. Goldfinch feeding on Dandelion seeds growing on river bank wall. Pair of Grey wagtails flew down the river. The female landed in long grass by the riverbank and the male on a rock a few feet away. He suddenly took off and did a few tight beautiful loops over the river. They disappeared up the river and after a few minuets the pair returned followed by a third bird. Thinks turned aggressive and he was chased far up the river. Collared dove x 1. Male Chaffinch taking a bath and flew up to tree to dry his feathers with mush shaking of his body.
Tipperary railway station. Swallow x 1 flying. Two male Housesparrows on opposite side of the roof singing. Ridge tiles are slightly lifted and must be nesting in there. Dunnock x 1 singing. Jackdaw x 2 flying. Starling landed on old station shed. They nest there each year. Three linnets feeding on area of ground with plenty of wildflowers.
Lidil carpark. Dunnock x 1 singing. Male Blackbird beautiful song from chimney pot nearby house.
Glenview Square Biodiversity Project
Review of Work to Date and Plan for the Future (September 2012 to March 2013).
A partnership between Tipperary Town Tidy Towns, Tipperary Branch BirdWatch Ireland and The MooreHaven Centre.
A place for wild things to grow and live, a place to listen and see, a place of learning for all.
Glenview Square Biodiversity Project
MooreHaven Centre and the Tipperary Tidy Towns partnership in the Glenview Square Biodiversity Project started in September 2012. Through our initial contact with Brian Rafferty of The Tidy Towns and Dan Hogan of BirdWatch Ireland, it was suggested that MooreHaven Centre become involved in a biodiversity project in Tipperary Town. An area just beside the Glenview community and beside the Ara River and the Tipperary - Clonmel railway line was chosen for further development as an area with a biodiversity theme. The Glenview Biodiversity is an initiative to allow the service participants at the MooreHaven centre to access and participate in their community.
In forming this partnership, we are thankful to the Tipperary Town Tidy Towns committee, with the help and advice from Brian Rafferty and team. We are also very grateful to BirdWatch Ireland who has supported us with this project, with the help and advice from Dan Hogan and Albert Nolan. Our thanks also go to the staff of the Garden Centre at MooreHaven Centre, Mairead, Liz and John who have helped and facilitated us with learning to grow plants and who have taken care of the plants that we have sown. Also a word of thanks to Claire Ryan who visited the site to help us to identify grasses in late 2012.
The project has been of great benefit to the MoorHaven Centre on a number of areas:
· It allows participants to take part in their local community.
· It allows participants to learn about gardening, local flora and fauna.
· It creates a sense of fulfillment and doing some work that is beneficial to others.
· It allows participants to work as part of a team.
· It is a healthy and worthwhile activity.
The following details the plan that we started, the work that we have achieved to date and our plans for the future.
Glenview Square Biodiversity Project:
The plan from the Autumn of 2012 to the Summer of 2013 was the following:
§ Keep the area litter free.
§ Seed collection in Autumn and plant seeds to make beds of plants such as thistle, ragwort, common dock. Develop a nettle bed also.
§ Develop a flower bed in the area beside the railway bridge. Ancillary work to move fruit trees to an area along the river bank. The flower bed will have a focus on flora that are attractive to moths at different stages of their life cycle.
§ Grow / propagate plants in the Garden Centre at MooreHaven Centre, that can be used at the Glenview site.
§ Produce identification sheets to aid in the identification of the flora and fauna at the Glenview site.
Progress for each part of the plan is outlined below:
We have collected litter on many occasions. The site is an area that is quite open to having litter domestic and casual being left on the site. There is a major area for dog litter as the area is used regularly by people walking their dogs.
Seed Collection in Autumn
We collected numerous seeds of five or six types of wild plants in the Autumn. We planted these in sand/compost, but they failed to grow. We will try this again in 2013. We took cuttings of elderberry and whitethorn and they have rooted and will be used in the Glenview site.
Develop Flower Bed
We have made some progress in starting this and will be complete by May 2013. Ancillary work involved the transplanting of fruit trees to another area on the site. We will plant whitethorn hedge in next few weeks.
Grow plants from seed at MooreHaven Centre
We have planted and grown seeds at the MooreHaven Garden Centre and will use these in the flower bed at the Glenview site.
We have not developed any identification sheets as yet for the site. We hope to develop this later in 2013. Albert Nolan of BirdWatch Ireland has helped us to identify the flora / fauna at the site and Claire Ryan helped us to start to identify the grasses at the site.
Follow up contact with the Abbey School with the idea that they may allow the field adjacent to the Glenview site to remain uncut as late as possible into the year as possible.