by Paul Cormacain
THE weather may still be mild, mostly, and mostly, but we are now getting frost and rain. What we are not getting are butterflies. I am indebted to Ian Rippey, who has supplied me with the information on the last butterfly_ and other sightings of the year.
There is a lovely spot called Monea in Fermanagh, and it was to this spot that a peacock butterfly came on November 3. That's late! And in England we had sightings of nine species of butterfly in November. Mind you, last year in the same month in England, there were 17 species sightings.
The previous record of a butterfly sighting in the north was in Lisburn. The insect who put in an appearance was a red admiral, and the date of this sighting was October 20.
In the Peatlands Park, in Armagh, Ian himself saw a common darter dragonfly on November 7.
After all the news concerning the Irish Hare, it now turns out that the Department of the Environment has made a new proposal. Under the Game Preservation Act, and the Came Law Amendment Act, it intends to prohibit the killing, taking, selling or trading of Irish Hares. There is an address to which you can write if you disagree, but it is too late now.
This seems to be a day for snippets, so here is another snippet.
The Latin word for oak is quercus, as everyone knows. But did you know that there is a new quercus? This new one is a new centre at Queens University, recently opened, and which will be a boost to folk doing research in the fields of biodiversity_ , and conservation biology.
The principle aim of Quercus is to promote , publish and publicise high quality research in biodiversity and conservation biology. It will also establish and sustain innovative programmes of biological monitoring. These will relate to longer term ecological studies, which are required to establish environmental change and its causes, and to underpin habitat and species management.
Quercus, symbol of strength, reliability and long long term, this reflects the strength of partnership between Queens and the Environment and Heritage Service of the DOE. Queens has been awarded the contract to carry out this research for the Environment and Heritage Service.
The contact was put out to open European tender. Was not it lucky that the queens won? A very positive outcome of Quercus is that nine post-graduate researchers are employed. Additional equipment is now available There is mutual benefit to queens researchers and EHS staff, and the hope is that Quercus will lead to greater things.
Quercus, what a grand name for a viable, strong, growing organisation with hope of even greater things to come.
Friday 26th December: Christmas Trail at Castle Espie, call 028 9187 4146 for details.
Saturday 17th January: Box-building for birds, bats, bees, at Lough Neagh Discccovery Centre. Why not phone them on 028 3832 2205.
Monday 26th January: Hear Janet Wilson talk about the Wildlife and Culture of Kenya, at Lisburn RSPB at Friends Meeting House, 1930