The mottled grasshopper.
Ballycroy National Park in a race against time
Ballycroy National Park in County Mayo will be taking part in a very unique race this May. From 5pm, Friday, May 20 to 5pm, Saturday, May 21, the national park will be competing in the second year of Ireland’s BioBlitz. This is a scientific race against time. The aim of this fun event is to find as many living species as possible within the park over a 24 hour period.
During last year’s event, the champions, Connemara National Park, recorded a staggering 542 species over a 24 hour period. This year, Ballycroy National Park is hoping to keep the much coveted BioBlitz trophy in the West of Ireland.
Five of Ireland’s wonderful state-owned properties will be vying for the title of BioBlitz 2011 Champions, with each site competing against one another to see which property can find most species. From soaring eagles to the smallest bugs in the undergrowth, teams of scientists and volunteers will comb the parks recording what they find.
Ballycroy National Park, in the past couple of months, has been working to attract a diverse groups of scientists in order to record as many different plants and animals as possible. The list of scientists is very impressive, with experts in all sorts of fields – including butterflies, moths, birds, lichens, fungi, mosses, bats, invertebrates, plants and dragonflies – all on their way. As the park has a small area of coastline, there a seaweed expert has also been drafted in.
The competition is stiff, however. Other contestants include Dromore Woods, Co Clare; Killarney National Park, Co Kerry; Liffey Valley Park, Waterstown, Dublin 20; and Raven Wood Nature Reserve, Co Wexford.
This is a unique event where scientists, students and the general public can come together and learn how scientists and recorders use their skills to study the wildlife of an area. It will also introduce the non-specialist to the fabulous wealth of biodiversity that occurs all around us, with an array of public events covering various topics over the 24 hour period.
Base camp will be located at the Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre, which is situated on the main road (N59) between Mulranny and Bangor Erris.
Members or the public are welcome on the following events (note there are two events which you need to book a place on, so contact the centre).
For more information on Ballycroy’s BioBlitz please contact the National Park Visitor Centre on 098 49888 or visit www.ballycroynationalpark.ie.
BioBlitz at Ballycroy National Park
Friday, May 20
9.30pm – Bat Walk, Moth Trapping and Newt Watch, led by the Ballycroy Education Team
Saturday, May 21
5.30am – Dawn Chorus, led by Susan Callaghan
9am – 10am Moth ID Session, led by the Ballycroy Education Team
10.30am – Pond Dipping, led by the Ballycroy Education Team
10.30am – Bog/Dragonfly Walk, led by Cameron Clotworthy (maximum of 20 people, booking required)
11.30am – Wildflowers of the Bog, led by the Ballycroy Education Team
2pm – Butterfly Transect Walk, led by the Ballycroy Education Team
2pm – Bog/Seashore Walk, led by Leonard Floyd (maximum of 20 people, booking required)