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Springing Into March

Despite the very wet and unsettled weather, the signs of Spring are visible throughout the Mulkear catchment. Overall it has been an extremely mild winter with only very limited periods of prolonged cold.

MulkearLIFE Spawn Watch DSC_2971 Joan O'Neill

Springing into March – Common Frog (Image: Joan O’ Neill)

While the land is still super-sutured grass growth has continued almost without interruption and now plant growth is taking life. Signs of new life abound. Trees along rivers in catchment are budding new shoots and many are in the early stages of leaf.

New Growth New Life Cathkins

Buds of life and regrowth – Lower Mulkear (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

 

Signs of Spring - Cathkins Mulkear River

Buds of life and regrowth – Lower Mulkear (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

As we enter the first week of March 2014, the Lower Shannon is experiencing a massive spring tide and the Mulkear catchment is experiencing some welcome sunshine. Spring is an extremely busy time for a great many throughout the Mulkear catchment. Farmers involved with MulkearLIFE are busy calving, while others in the upper catchment are busy lambing. Given the level of rainfall over the eight weeks, many cattle are still indoors as the land is simply too wet to take them. It is hoped with a good dry spell cattle will be out of their winter housing within a matter of weeks.

Spring Lamping keeping farm families busy (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchuir)

Spring lamping keeping farm families busy (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchuir)

Birds and wildlife are busy with young.  Birds are busy searching for mates, food and nest materials. Along rivers and riverbanks dippers, grey wagtails and kingfishers are equally busy.

Gret Wagtail

Grey wagtails busy in the Upper Catchment (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)

Unfortunately, the mild weather has also greatly assisted the early emergence of non-native invasive plant species.

The mild weather has assisted in the early growth of Giant Hogweed (Image:                    RÓC)

The mild weather has assisted in the early growth of Giant Hogweed (Image: RÓC)

It is expected that work on non-native invasives will recommence within the next two weeks. This will be spearheaded by Limerick County Council and the Office of Works.

A busy time for courting Common Frogs (Image: Joan O'Neill)

A busy time for courting Common Frogs (Image: Joan O’Neill)

In the coming months, normal or near normal spring and summer rainfall levels, and corresponding normal or near normal waters levels in the Mulkear River and tributaries will be key to MulkearLIFE achieving its objectives this year, the final  year of operation of the project.

Deer at dawn (Image: Clodagh Blake)Deer at dawn (Image: Clodagh Blake)

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Mulkear LIFE, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Ashbourne Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick, Ireland
Phone: +353 (0)61 300 238   Email: limerick@fisheriesireland.ie