Species to Look Out For
Blue-Eyed GrassSisyrinchium 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
Whooper SwanCygnus 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 DunesSand 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 GullLarus 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 SquirrelSciurus 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 LizardLacerta 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
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 BirdRecords 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.