We were devastated to learn of the untimely death of naturalist, broadcaster, environmentalist and mentor to many of those on Mooney Goes Wild, Dick Warner. Dick worked on over over 90 broadcast television documentaries, including the memorable Waterways series. Our deepest sympathies to Dick's family and friends.
The Mooney Goes Wild programme is celebrated for many different things, like NestWatch and the Dawn Chorus, to mention but two.
The Dawn Chorus is a six-hour marathon, broadcast every May, where listeners get a chance to appreciate the wonderful cacophony of sound just before and after dawn.
But everybody appreciates listening to the birds. Recently, a number of listeners have been in touch to complain about the racket that is going on, for hours at a time, in their localities. We sent our reporter, Terry Flanagan off to investigate. He first headed off to Beaumont where he met up with Anne Marie Winick...
A gull in Dublin
Gulls in Dublin
Now you might remember earlier this month we told you about a controversial remark which a politician in Limerick made about Hen Harriers.
The councillor in question, John Sheahan, Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, said that if nothing was done about the restrictions placed on landowners in special protection areas – SPAs – "open season should be declared on the hen harrier".
Basically, Cllr Sheahan was bemoaning the fact that farmers were struggling and in areas where the Hen Harrier was offered some protection the farmers couldn’t consider other options like wind farms, forestry or reclaiming land.
The poor hen harrier - a spectacular and rare bird of prey - was being blamed.
Now we talked about that particular controversial remark at the time so we’re not going to rehash that issue. But we decided we’d find out a little more about the bird at the centre of the controversy, the hen harrier.
With Derek today is Barry O’Donoghue, Assistant Principal Officer with the National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Sally, Millstreet 2013
Cordal Nest satellite tagging in mature forestry adjacent to nest on July 13th 2013. This is Heather (younger bird) and Sally
Cordal Nest satellite tagging in mature forestry adjacent to nest on July 13th 2013 - this is Sally
Cordal Nest Visit on June 27th 2013, four of five chicks showing, two eldest in this photo were sat tagged July 13th 2013
A bit of breaking news today, as Dr. Joe Caffrey, Senior Research Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland, tells us about the freshwater jellyfish discovered in Ireland this week for the very first time...
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