Species to Look Out For

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Wild Rose

Rosa species are frequent in old mature hedgerows along with bushes such as spindle and guelder rose. Hedgerows form important corridors that allow wildlife to move through the countryside. Photography: Don Cotton

The Ground Beetle

Carabus Clatratus is a very local species found in wet places in bogs. The one shown in the photograph was in Easkey Bog National Nature Reserve. Photography: Don Cotton

Blue-Eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium Bermudiana is a kind of iris that is very local in wet meadows in Glencar from where it has been known since 1904. In Ireland it is a native plant confined to western counties and is listed in the Red Data Book but is not afforded any protection. It is absent as a native species in Great Britain.
Photography: Don Cotton

Garden Tiger Moth

Arctia Caja common moth is rarely seen by most people but the ’hairy molly’ caterpillar is quite familiar. There are 1412 species of moth and butterfly recorded from Ireland, some of which are rare and endangered. Photography: Don Cotton

Whooper Swan

Cygnus Cygnus breeds in Iceland but over-winters in Ireland, mainly in the north and west. Bunduff Loughs can attract over 200 swans for a few days in October as they arrive from Iceland; and Lough Gara has been known to hold up to 650 swans when the smaller lakes in the area became frozen one winter. A survey in January 2000 recorded 370 whooper swans from 22 sites in Co. Sligo. This swan is ’Strictly Protected’ under the Habitats Convention and is listed for protection in the Birds Directive. Photography: Don Cotton

Sand Dunes

Sand dunes in their natural state are biologically diverse habitats. Many rare or uncommon plants and invertebrates are present in the dunes of Co. Sligo. Unfortunately they are also under threat from many human activities. Sand dune habitats are singled out for protection under the EU Habitats Directive and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) status has been given to Bunduff, Streedagh, Yellow Strand, Rosses Point, Strandhill and Enniscrone dunes. Photography: Lisa Henry

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Larus Fuscus has breeding colonies on Inishmurray and on an island in Lough Gara but its numbers at these sites are declining. A colony at Lough Arrow seems to have been lost in recent years. This handsome gull has no special protection afforded to it but its breeding sites are all included in Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive. Photography: Don Cotton

Red Squirrel

Sciurus Vulgaris is a local species in County Sligo with the strongest population centred on the wooded shores of Lough Gill Special Area of Conservation. The range of this squirrel is rapidly declining in Ireland and Britain as it is displaced by the introduced North American grey squirrel. It is protected under the Habitats Convention and under the Wildlife Act.  Sligo is extremely fortunate to have a range of sites at which there is a good chance to see this animal including Hazelwood, Dooney Rock, Slish Wood and Union Wood.

Viviparous Lizard

Lacerta Vivipara is our only lizard and it is found locally in bogs and sand dunes in the county. This reptile lives in small populations that are becoming fragmented and it appears to be declining. It is listed as a protected species under the Habitats Convention. Photography: Don Cotton

Water Avens

Geum Rivale is a very frequent plant in Sligo where there are damp herb-rich meadows and limestone outcrops. The Bricklieve’s have a particularly large population of this unusual but attractive flower. Photography: Don Cotton

Harbour (common) Seal (Phoca vitulina pup)

This seal breeds on the sand banks in Ballysadare Bay and Killala Bay, and until recently they also used to breed in Drumcliff Bay. Some can also be seen at close quarters at Moneygold in the Streedagh Estuary. The Ballysadare Bay population is one of the most important ’rookeries’ in Ireland and the seals can be viewed quite clearly from the southern (Culleenamore) leg of the coastal walk in Strandhill. It is a protected species in the Habitats Directive and under the Wildlife Act. Photography: Don Cotton

Lady Bird

Records for twelve species of ladybird are currently known from Co Sligo.  In several instances the habitats from which species were recorded did not tie in with known habitat preferences.  Ladybirds disperse by flight and may be recorded out of their preferred habitat. It may also be the case that ladybirds in Ireland have slightly different habitat niches to their counterparts in Britain.
Uncommon species of particular interest are Halyzia 16-guttata and Calvia 14-guttata which are associated with broad-leaved woodland in places such as around Lough Gill.

Butterfly - Green-veined white Pieris napi

This is the most common and widespread butterfly in Co. Sligo.  It is also on the wing for the entire spring and summer season with overlapping generations.

Tievebaun Mountain, Ben Bulben Plateau

Tievebaun Mountain, Benbulben Plateau is an area of high level blanket bog that holds several rare and interesting species of flora and fauna. The mountain plateau of ’Benbulben, Gleniff and Glenade Complex’ is designated as a Special Area of Conservation. Photography: Don Cotton

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