Life

Green Briefs: Corncrake return to Ireland

A red kite, Milvus milvus, in flight

CORNCRAKES have returned to Ireland from their wintering grounds in south-east Africa and the NPWS Corncrake Conservation Project gets up and running again.

The project will carry out a census to count all the calling male corncrakes in the known hotspots in Donegal and west Connaught and offer grants to farmers for late cutting and Corncrake-friendly mowing via the Corncrake Grant Scheme.

This year, the fieldwork in Co Donegal will be carried out by BirdWatch Ireland. Daniel Moloney is asking anyone who hears a corncrake to contact him on 0857 398411 or email him at dmoloney@birdwatchireland.ie as soon as possible, as early detection of their breeding sites is vitally important.

The male Corncrake has a very distinctive loud 'Krek Krek' call which can be heard during the day but usually becomes continuous around dusk and will continue throughout the night until dawn.

RSPB Northern Ireland has called on the public to help build a clearer picture of the red kite population. Red kites were persecuted to extinction more than 200 years ago because people mistakenly saw them as a threat to livestock. However, back in 2008 the conservation charity joined forced with the Welsh Kite Trust and the Golden Eagle Trust to reintroduce the species to Northern Ireland.

To report a sighting, please email redkiteni@rspb.org.uk Sightings where wing tags are read are most helpful but even sightings of untagged kites, or where the tags could not be read, are also extremely useful.

THE Republic's transport minister, Paschal Donohoe, and the state's Road Safety Authority have launched a new campaign targeting cyclists and truck drivers to highlight the existence of the blind spots around trucks.

Due to their size and design, a truck has significant blind spots that present a danger to vulnerable road users. A driver's field of vision, within a cab, is limited; the area immediately in front, behind and to the left of the vehicle is often hidden from view and cyclists and pedestrians are at an increased risk of being struck.

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