Category Archives: Wild About Clane

Scoil Phadráig’s Biodiversity Green Flag Initiative

The Green Schools committee, students, and staff at Scoil Phádraig are working hard towards securing their next Green Flag. Under the stewardship of Deputy Principal Mr. Eyres, over 200 nestboxes and insect hotels were recently produced and distributed amongst the families of those attending. An additional 50 boxes were very generously presented to Clane Tidy Towns and Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland.

To help mark this wonderful contribution, John Kennedy from Clane Community Council’s Clane Tidy Towns presented a talk “Wild About Clane” to a hall full of 6 classes of students. The enthusiastic boys proved to be very knowledgeable, but were genuinely surprised to learn of some of our local wildlife. Butterflies that migrate to Clane all the way from Africa. Animals that can catch grey squirrels but not the native red. Birds that once they leave their nest up high on buildings on our Main Street, do not stop flying till they try to nest themselves two or three years later. Garden Tigers, Elephant Hawkmoths and more.

Talk

John Kennedy, Clane Tidy Towns, introducing local biodiversity

The audience also asked some valuable questions, and learned of very practical and surprising ways they can help protect biodiversity in Clane. Thoughtless acts such as Littering and Graffiti cost so much time and money – and huge efforts in volunteer fundraising – that stamping them out would give volunteers in Clane the ability to fund and do much more exciting things of benefit to the community – including wildlife initiatives.

What's This???

What’s This???

The talk ended with a big thank you to the school: the Green Flags awarded to the primary schools of Clane are a very important contribution to our Clane Tidy Towns activities and helped Clane achieve a Bronze Medal for the first time in the 2014 national competition. We wish them every success in their campaign for their next Green Flag.

Members of the Green School's Committee presenting their Nest Boxes

Members of the Green School’s Committee presenting over 50 Nest Boxes to Clane Tidy Towns and Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland

 

 

 

Celebrating Heritage Week in Clane

The heritage of Clane is rich and varied and this Heritage Week there are several special events arranged to help everyone discover and celebrate it…

  • On Saturday starting 3pm in ALDI car park, Clane Local History Group have organised a Heritage Walk to introduce you to some of the historic built heritage of the village.
  • On Sunday starting 8pm in Westgrove Shopping Centre car park, a Wild About Clane…at Sunset nature walk will be lead with experts from Kildare Bat Group,  Kildare branch of Birdwatch Ireland and GROWing Gardens.
  • On Tuesday at 8pm in Clane Library Clane Local History Group will present a talk on “Some Forgotten Clane Residences“.

For details of other heritage week events in and around the area why not check out http://www.heritageweek.ie/

 

 

 

 

Rescued from a Wine-bottle…

When Clane Tidy Towns were cleaning up a local stream they found something unexpected inside a wine bottle…when they cracked open the wine bottle see what they found for yourself below!

This is a White-Clawed Freshwater Crayfish, a protected species in Ireland.

It appears to have crawled into the bottle when it was smaller, moulted into a larger size, and got trapped.

Please don’t litter.

 

Clane Tidy Towns announces Community Tree-Planting Scheme

Clane Tidy Towns LogoClane Tidy Towns is delighted to launch a community tree-planting scheme to help mark 40 Years of Community in Clane. It is hoped to plant up to 40 trees in and around the community. All residents’ associations and owners of publically accessible land are invited to apply for some of these trees. Maybe an existing tree needs to be replaced, or maybe a few new trees would sit nicely in some corner. Professionals have kindly volunteered to work with the successful applicants to help identify suitable species, sizes and quantities of trees for each site.

Please see our dedicated Communty Tree-Planting project page for all the details, and the application form.

Celebrate Heritage Week … in Clane

The week starting August 18th is National Heritage Week and this year we are delighted to announce it can be celebrated in Clane.

On Sunday 19th Clane Community Council has arranged a Wild About Clane Nature Walk by the Liffey, with experts from Birdwatch Ireland and Kildare Bat Group. The walk starts at 8pm in the Abbbeylands Shopping Centre Car Park.

On Tuesday 21st August starting at 8pm in the Library, Clane Local History Group are presenting a talk where local history experts will present on the topic Main Street Clane: Its Buildings and People.

Why not come out and enjoy your local heritage at one or both of these events…all are welcome and they are free of change. We look forward to seeing you there.

Clane Nest Box Scheme 2012 – the results!!

In early 2012 Clane Tidy Towns, in association with the Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland, launched our Nest Box Scheme.

A selection of the nest boxes donated to Clane Nest Box Scheme

A survey identified several species that could be reasonably expected to be attracted to nest boxes in Clane, appropriate sites were identified around the town, and suggested nest box designs were drawn up.

People were invited to create and donate nest boxes, and a wonderful total of 18 boxes (including 4 from the local Men’s Shed) were assembled, gratefully received, painted up and carefully installed.

Over the course of the breeding season these boxes were monitored under license from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and now that the season is over (at least for these nest boxes) we are delighted to share our results.

"With beautiful views over the Liffey..."

Despite the inclement weather which drastically affected the population of caterpillars on which most nestlings are fed, we are delighted to report that nests were constructed in 9 of the boxes, and young were successfully raised in 7 of these nests. Eggs were not laid in one of the nests, and in another the nest was abandoned for some reason before the eggs hatched. Of the 18 nest boxes originally installed a total of 37 young were successfully reared – a wonderful result for the first year of the scheme. All the nests were occupied by Blue Tit, one of our targeted species. Details of the nesting results were contributed to the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme to assist in long term research.

Of the 18 nest boxes installed we actually went ahead and installed a camera in one of them, and connected it up to a recorder. By shear luck, a pair of Blue Tits started to construct their nest in the box the day after the camera went in!! The complete nest was not visible to the camera but at least 9 eggs were seen to be laid and at least 8 young were counted leaving the nest a few short weeks later. The transformation from empty wooden box to chaotic home full of at least 10 birds was wonderful to witness, and we are delighted now to share some of the highlights below having uploaded them to YouTube. A big thank you to the staff and members of the John Sullivan Resource Centre who kept a close eye on the birds. They christened the mum Annabelle, and the dad was named Apollo. We hope you enjoy the clips below.

A big thank you to everyone who supported the Nest Box Scheme in 2012 – the results were very encouraging. Here’s wishing the 37 young that were raised all the best in and around Clane in the coming weeks and months.

If you go down to the stream today…

… you may be in for a big surprise! Clane Tidy Towns volunteers certainly got a big surprise when clearing out rubbish from a local stream over the weekend. They managed to capture on video not just some fine Brown Trout, but also a White-Clawed Freshwater Crayfish that was struggling to hold onto their lunch – a Brook Lamprey. Both of these species are protected, so an important sighting for Clane.

The fish managed to struggle free in the end:

And the Brown Trout:

Saving Clane Swifts…

Swift (by Dick Coombes)

A recent study by volunteers of Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland revealed that Clane is at risk of losing a species that has graced our skies since possibly the first buildings were built in Clane. A bird with an amazing story: the swift.

Swifts only spend a few months of the year in Clane, arriving in late April from sub-Saharan Africa, and departing by the end of August. Somewhat similar to swallows, house martins and sand martins, swifts are perhaps twice as large with stiff scythe like wings. They can sometimes be heard frantically chasing and screaming after each other in and around our buildings in the summer evenings.

Swifts are true masters of the air. They eat, drink, mate and even sleep on the wing – in fact swifts typically only stop flying to breed. So, once young swifts leap out of their nest for the first time, they may not stop flying for two or three years, until they are ready to look for a nest site themselves and start a family. Swifts typically nest in gaps under roof tiles of tall buildings, but modern building and roofing techniques are making it more and more difficult for them to find suitable nesting sites. Luckily solutions are not too complex and volunteer groups such as the Northern Ireland Swift Group are working to raise awareness and improve the lot for these birds.

The Abbey, Clane

Last year about 10 swifts were seen flying in and around Clane, but only two swift nests were actually located – both in very old buildings, and one in a building that may be redeveloped shortly. With the possibility of existing nest sites being lost, Clane Community Council and Clane Tidy Towns have made a special effort to preserve this species in Clane by providing dedicated accommodation for swifts in the tower of the Abbey.

A swift colony nest box that includes space for five nests has been specially constructed and installed behind the louvres of the window high up above the main door to the Abbey. The entrances are designed to line up with existing gaps in the louvres, and yet not let starlings in. The rear is designed to allow the nests be checked discreetly, and cleaned. Each nest includes a simple ‘concave’ to keep the eggs from rolling around and possibly even out of the nest box.

The new nest boxes with rear windows and walls removed

The next challenge in this project will be encouraging swifts that have been flying non-stop for two or three years to finally come to a rest and consider a nest site in this particular window. Although one of the current nest sites is nearby, success is not guaranteed. Another factor is food supply. Swifts only eat insects, so the health of our surrounding gardens, fields, rivers and countryside will also be important to ensure that there are enough insects for them to breed successfully. However, fingers are crossed. If the younger swifts simply discover the nest boxes this summer it could be an important step to securing the presence of this amazing bird in Clane for hopefully many years to come.

The nest boxes with their rear wall removed

Temporarily blocking the louvres beneath the nestboxes

The new nest boxes awaiting prospective tenants

Have you seen our missing nest box?

Earlier this year Clane Tidy Towns ran a nest box scheme in association with the Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland. We were delighted with the response: in the end 18 boxes were generously donated by the community, and installed in carefully chosen locations.

Unfortunately however, one of these boxes has been removed by somebody in the last few weeks.

The missing nestbox number 1, with distinctive Clane Tity Towns logo.

Box number 1, with our Abbey and “CTT” Logo painted on the side, was carefully hand-made by a local retired gentleman. This unique box even boasted a torched felt roof. We were really curious to see if it would be occupied: it is very disappointing that this box has been interfered with.

If you come across the box, or have any information on its whereabouts, please let anyone on the Tidy Towns team know. Information can also be sent (in confidence and anonymously if necessary) to ClaneTidyTowns@gmail.com.

Nestbox 1 after installation

The bare tree today

Clane goes a little bit Batty

Hot on the heels of a successful Nestbox Scheme for our feathered friends, Clane Tidy Towns is not forgetting our other aerial, ahem, acro-bats. Working closely with Kildare Bat Group and Bat Conservation Ireland, two specialised bat boxes have recently been installed.

Clane's new bat boxes

These ‘boxes’ are actually a bit like large concrete mineral bottles. They are made from concrete so that the temperature does not fluctuate as much as in a wooden box, and are painted black and installed facing South so they absorb as much heat as possible. The inside of the box has a rough surface so that bats can climb up inside them.

All Irish bats are insect eaters, and so are very small. Anything from one or two to twenty or thirty bats might move into these boxes. We will monitor the boxes carefully and keep you posted of any developments.

You can see one of these bat boxes for yourself by the Liffey in our Liffeyside Nature Park. Four species of bat (the Leisler, Daubenton, Soprano Pipestrelle and Common Pipestrelle) have been recorded by the Liffey recently. These bats can each hoover up more than 2000 moths and midges every night. We hope they enjoy their new accommodation.

For more information on bats in Ireland check out Bat Conservation Ireland‘s website.

Kildare Bat Group records installation details of bat box 1

Bat box 2 open for business

Available To Let – 17 new Nest boxes!

Clane Tidy Towns and Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland were delighted with the reponse to the Nest Box Scheme for Clane, 2012. A grand total of 17 boxes were donated to the cause and are now installed in and around the town awaiting prospective tenants. A special thanks to the folks of the Man’s Shed, organised by Clane Project Centre’s and based in Thompson Business Centre, for constructing 4 of the boxes.

The boxes will be monitored over the coming breeding season…keep an eye out here for future updates. If you spot any activity at any of the boxes, please send a note to us at wildaboutclane@gmail.com.

Wild About Clane – Nest Box Scheme!

In recent months volunteers from the Kildare Branch of BirdWatch Ireland have surveyed public spaces in Clane and identified numerous sites that would be suitable for nestboxes for certain species. Based on this we would like to invite you to root out that jar of screws and spare bit of plywood in the back of the shed and bash a nestbox together for us!

Different species prefer different types of nestboxes, so for this year we are requesting  boxes with holes of diameter 25mm (for Blue Tits and Coal Tits) and 28mm (for Great Tits
and Tree Sparrows) – we can drill the hole if that suits better. For complete plans for the ideal nestbox please see our recommended nest box design.

We will be siting these boxes carefully with the guidance of BirdWatch Ireland, and of course the sooner we install them the better the chances they will be found. If you could drop off your box to The Abbey, opposite the playground, at 5pm on Saturday February 18th, we would be delighted to also take your details and make sure you are
told of the final location of your box.

Please note we won’t be installing nestboxes in housing estates, so why not consider making a box for your local residents association too. You are welcome to contact WildAboutClane@gmail.com if you would like a survey of your estate to suggest which locations might suit certain species. Good luck!

Liffeyside Nature Park – a wonderful new amenity for Clane

Mayor of Kildare Cllr. Weld, and local budding photographers Jessica Doran and Stephen Doyle unveil one of the two new wildlife signs at Clane Liffeyside Nature Park.

Clane Community Council and its Tidy Towns Sub-Committee marked International Biodiversity Day, Sunday 22nd May, in style with the official opening of its Liffeyside Nature Park and the unveiling of its two new “Wild About Clane” information panels.

The showers blew over and the sun came out just in time for the evening’s events.

Supported by experts Niall Tierney and Deirdre Moran from Birdwatch Ireland Kildare Branch, Terry Walsh from Clane Trout and Salmon Anglers Association, and Philip Strickland from Moths Ireland, John Kennedy from Clane Tidy Towns led the enthusiastic crowd on a guided nature walk. People were introduced to the variety of native trees, wildflowers, birds, insects, fish and animals present in and around the park. They were also treated to a glimpse of a kingfisher that bolted out from under Alexandra Bridge, and to stories of otters seen lying on their back in the river, feasting on freshwater mussels picked from the riverbed.

Terry Walsh, Chairman Clane Trout and Salmon Anglers, treating the locals with stories of otters lying on their back in the Liffey feasting on freshwater mussels.

The nature walk was followed by the official opening ceremony, with the crowd addressed by Chairman of Clane Community Council Mr. Nick Fitzgerald, coordinator of the project John Kennedy from Clane Tidy Towns, and special guest Mayor of Kildare Cllr. Brendan Weld.

After describing the 15 year history of the project, the individuals and groups that had contributed to the park, the signs and the day’s events were all sincerely thanked. The importance of biodiversity was also highlighted. The park was then officially opened by Mayor Weld and the two local children whose photographs featured on the signs: Jessica Doran and Stephen Doyle.

The celebrations moved on to the Westgrove Hotel for some refreshing teas, coffees and finger food. This was followed by the final event of the day: a batwalk down by the Liffey. Tina Aughney from Bat Conservation Ireland provided a fascinating insight into these surprisingly small insect-eating mammals, and thanks to Tina bringing a supply of bat detectors, everyone was able to listen in to the clicks and calls of the three species of bats that were identified on the walk.

John Kennedy, Clane Community Council, pointing out some Butterbur - a plant traditionally used to wrap butter.

A great evening seemed to be had by all, with people commenting that all the hard work may have turned the former sewage works into not just a wildlife refuge, not just a wonderful amenity for the people of the town, but an important attraction for visitors to Clane too.

Why not take a walk down by the park yourself. We hope you find the new signs helpful in introducing the beauty of the natural world…

…Wild About Clane.

For more information please see our press release. To print out your own copy of the signs you are welcome to download the high resolution posters from the Wild About Clane section of this website.

Our thanks to John Power for supplying all the photographs…

Celebrating Biodiversity Day in style at Clane Liffeyside Park

Sunday May 22nd is International Biodiversity Day and this year Clane will be celebrating it in style. Clane Community Council and its Clane Tidy Towns committee are delighted to announce the grand opening of Clane Liffeyside Nature Park and the unveiling of its brand new wildlife signs…

Buzzard over North Kildare (T. Byrne)

…Why not come along and enjoy the evening with us. There will be wildlife experts available from 6:30 pm to help point out and explain some of the plants and animals that are “Wild about Clane“.

The opening and unveiling ceremony will happen at 7:30pm, and will be  followed by a guided nature walk.

The day will be rounded off with a bat walk where you can learn about, see and even hear some of our most remarkable inhabitants. The walk will depart from the Abbeylands Shopping Centre Car Park at 9:30 pm.

Willow Catkins by Alexandra Bridge (J Kennedy)

The Liffeyside Park is beside the Alexandra Bridge on the Sallins road. The nearest car park is at the Abbeylands Shopping Centre. All are welcome…we hope to see you there!

Calling all … nesting birds?

What a glorious spell of weather we are having. Thankfully it is that time of the year again and the birds are busy singing, and settling into nests.

This year it happens to be the last year of the enormous Bird Atlas project between the RSPB in the UK and Birdwatch Ireland here. It is a four year project attempting to record the distribution of every species of bird in these islands. Volunteers have been busy scouring the countryside, but there are still plenty of gaps in the data. This is the last chance to close the gaps: perhaps you can help.

For the 10km square that Clane is in, the following species have been recorded as probably breeding, but their breeding has not been confirmed. Almost everyone recognises the magpie…is it possible there are no magpie nests around Clane, Prosperous or Naas?

  • Teal
  • Tufted Duck
  • Pheasant
  • Grey Heron
  • Buzzard
  • Water Rail
  • Coot
  • Lapwing
  • Snipe
  • Curlew
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Cuckoo
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Skylark
  • Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)
  • Whinchat
  • Grasshopper Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Greenfinch
  • Redpoll (Common/Lesser)
  • Bullfinch
  • Cormorant
  • Peregroine
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Raven
  • Carrion/Hooded Crow Hybrid
  • Common Crossbill

If you have seen any of these species breeding around Clane – either an occupied nest, or young being fed by adults –  your sighting could be valuable.

Please send an email with details to wildaboutclane@gmail.com and we will follow up with you. Alternatively feel free to log your record yourself on http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdatlas.

If you know about a nest but are not 100% sure about the species, no problem. Contact wildaboutclane@gmail.com and if possible we will call out and let you know what it is (without disturbing the nest).

Close encounters – with a lobster?

During the National Spring Clean on April 2nd some volunteers were cleaning up along the banks of the Liffey. When pulling out some rubbish they came across perhaps one of the most unusal animals living in Clane: the White-Clawed Crayfish. Check out our Wild About Clane White-Clawed Crayfish article to see some pictures, a video and find out more about these remarkable animals.

Are you going batty this Halloween?

The K Club in Straffan is hosting a Halloween bat talk and walk this Friday October 29th at 7pm for young and old alike to find out more about these mysterious nocturnal animals. If you have any questions about bats why not go along and get the answers from the experts. They’ll have bat detectors so you can hear the local bats out chasing insects. For non-members of the K Club there is a €3 fee. Places are limited so be sure to book a place in advance – click here for the full details from the K Club.

If you can’t make the event, but would be interested in a bat walk and talk being held here in Clane, please let us know below and we will look into organising a similar event.

Wild About Clane Photo Competition

In 2009 Clane Tidy Towns ran a “Wild About Clane” photo competition. The independent judges have met and after considerable deliberations the results are in…Clane Tidy Towns are delighted to announce that the winners of the recent photo competition are Aine O’Neill, Rua Rogan and Jessica Doran for the younger entries and Barbra Hackett, Ger Perdisatt and Matt Hayes among the adults…

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