The robin, not the turkey, is the real Christmas bird; you'll find him on cards, cakes and Christmas trees. But is Robin Redbreast having us on? Is he really the friendly and gentle little fellow he seems? Does he deserve his special Christmas place? Dr. Richard Collins, scientific adviser to Mooney Goes Wild, investigates! To read more about this special documentary, and to listen to the programme, click here.
On Mooney Goes Wild today...
It might be only a few centimetres long, but the Dragon Fish is one of the scariest looking of exotic fishes. But who has brought one into Ireland? And what are the implications for our rivers? We meet the ecologist who's just found a rare species of moss, thought to be extinct since the 1960s. And after a wet month of May, a warm month of June - perfect conditions for the natterjack toad to bounce back after years of decline!
The natterjack toad is one of three amphibian species native to Ireland. The common frog and the newt are the others. It's estimated these toads have been on this island for the last 10,000 years, just after the last ice age. Over the last couple of centuries though, they've been finding it increasingly difficult to survive in a habitat so influenced by agriculture.
But in recent years, the farming community has been working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to redress the balance. And good news emerged recently, in relation to natterjack toad numbers.
For more information on the Natterjack Toad, click here to download this NPWS leaflet.
Ferdia Marnell, from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, has just returned from Kerry where he describes 2014 as a "bumper year" for the toads! He joins Derek and the panel in studio to explain why...
In 1990, Derek and Dick Warner travelled to West Kerry, one of the last habitats of the natterjack toad, to make the radio documentary Swansong Of A Toad. The toads were at the time fighting for survival. To listen to the documentary, click here.
The Pygmy Shrew is one of the tiniest mammals in the world and is Ireland's smallest mammal, measuring only half the length and weighing quarter that of an average mouse.
It belongs to the same family of animals as the mole and the hedgehog and is dark brown in colour with a pink snout and long whiskers. It has very poor eyesight and hunts by smell and touch.
But this velvety little mammal - which has been among us since the Ice Age - is currently facing a very real threat of extinction due to the arrival of an invading species – the White-Toothed Shrew.
Dr Jon Yearsley is a Mathematical Biologist, lecturing in University College Dublin’s School of Biology and Environmental Science; he is currently researching the Pygmy Shrew, and he joins us in studio to explain why this shrew is at risk...
Over the last few weeks listeners have been in touch to tell us about their nesting birds and the unusual places they have chosen to rear their families.
Ronnie and Michael on board the Siofra
Yesterday we had a call from Ronnie Wilson. Ronnie and his friend Michael Lennon are sailing enthusiasts, sailing out of Dun Laoghaire harbour, but they have just discovered that a pair of terns have decided to use their sailing boat for their nest this year.
As terns normally nest in colonies on islands, we decided to send Terry Flanagan out to investigate, and talk to Michael and Ronnie...
If you play the clip above, you'll see a dramatic video of carp hunters on the Illinois River in the United States. The fishermen are in boats but they are not fishing with nets or rods; they use bow and arrows to kill Asian carp which jump into the air at the sound of the motor boat.
Although the carp hunters are having fun, there's a serious side to what they are doing – they're trying to limit the damage which an invasive species does to the native environment.
But what does this have to do with Ireland? Well, recently the remains of an exotic dragonfish was found in the River Suck raising concerns about the damage such non native organisms could do our waterways.
Marine biologist Ken Whelan joins Derek and the panel in studio to explain...
For the past two years, Mooney have teamed up with Irish Rail for their "The Journey's On Us" giveaway. As part of this initiative, Iarnród Éireann will provide 100 groups with free return rail for up to 50 people per group.
It's a brilliant initiative and what we found over the last two years is it provides a fantastic day out for community, voluntary and charity groups.
Mooney reporter Brenda Donohue is in Céannt Railway Station in Galway for the launch of The Journey’s On Us 2014
PRESS RELEASE: THE JOURNEY’S ON US!
IARNRÓD ÉIREANN TO OFFER FREE TRIPS FOR COMMUNITY, VOLUNTARY & CHARITY GROUPS IN 2014
Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail has launched the 2014 programme for The Journey’s On Us, an initiative to support organisations and groups in the voluntary, community, sporting and charity sector.
"The Journey's On Us" will provide 100 groups with a free group travel return journey for up to 50 people per group during 2014, meaning 5,000 free journeys are on offer across the company's services. The travel facilities will be ideal in particular for organisations bringing a group to a special event, or as part of a specific support to the members of the group which requires travel.
Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive David Franks said "Voluntary organisations are the life blood of communities across the country. However, like everyone, their budgets have been cut. We know there are youth, sports, music, voluntary, charity and other groups in the community who would benefit greatly from being able to undertake initiatives which involve a travel cost, but have had to scale back. We in Iarnród Éireann, through The Journey's On Us, want to do what we can to help such groups achieve their goals, and say thank you to the organisations which play such a vital role in the daily lives of communities. The initiative is now in its third year with the interest and amount of groups applying has grown significantly each year, which we are absolutely delighted with."
The company has today invited all community, voluntary, sporting and charity groups to apply for the 100 group travel trips available. Entry forms are available at all Iarnród Éireann stations or online at www.irishrail.ie/journeys . Entry forms can be filled out online, emailed email@example.com or by post to Corporate Communications, Iarnród Éireann, Connolly Station, Dublin 1. The closing date for receipt of entries is Monday July 14th, at 16.30hrs.
Last year, over 750 groups applied for the scheme, and organisations ranging from Men's Sheds to choirs, Special Olympics to Girl Guides, and groups representing youth and elderly, benefited from "The Journey's On Us". Last year Iarnród Éireann offered for the first time a special prize for the winning group that submitted the most interesting and inspirational account of their day travelling with them. The winner of the prize was Special Hands Activity Group from Kelly, Co. Meath.
The initiative is being supported nationally by RTÉ Radio 1's Mooney, and Brenda Donohue is joining customers and staff at Ceannt Railway Station, Galway today to launch "The Journey's On Us" 2014. They were joined by Galway Community Circus who were a winner of one of the trips last year. Mooney will also feature successful groups throughout the year.
All applications will be considered by an adjudicating panel and successful groups will be notified from July onwards. For further information and to see terms and conditions please log onto www.irishrail.ie/journeys.
Singles Night Out!
We are organising a singles night out for our listeners who are over 35! The where and when is still being finalised, but if you are interested in joining in the fun, then send us an e-mail! Let us know your age, gender, and if you are single. You must be available to travel to the venue at your own expense. Please send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line 'Singles Night Out'. And keep listening for further information!
Search For A Child Star Finalists
Earlier this year, we launched our competition to find Ireland's newest child star. The competition was open to boys and girls who were aged 10 years old or under. We asked you to record a piece that was no more than three minutes long, and e-mail it in to us.
The finalists, in no particular order, are:
- Hannah Kinsella (9 years old, from Lucan, Co. Dublin) with Pushover - Nikki Brown (8 years old, from Saggart, Co. Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind - Anna Lily Fox (6 years old, from Ballinalee, Co. Longford) with a Johnny Cash medley - Laoise Farrell (9 years old, from Ogonnolloe. Co. Clare) with The Call - Alannah Bermingham (10 years old, from Kilmacud, Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind
The date for the final will be announced shortly and the winner will perform at our Christmas Mooney Tunes concert.
Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.
UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:
Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed
BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted. It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.
Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made. This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.
The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:
(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).
The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.
BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal. In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (www.npws.ie) to report such activity.
BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.
To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.
Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.
If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit www.irishwildlifematters.ie