|NEWSLETTER NO. 356 Volume 12||
August: The Roman Emperor, Augustus named the eight month August in honour of himself. He died 19 August 14AD. The Anglo-Saxons called August “Weod-Monath” or “Weed Month”.
August brings the sheaves of corn . – Then the harvest home is borne.
Flower: Poppy and Gladioli
THIS DATE SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER
Temporary Closure of Coliemore
DCC monthly meeting for July was held on Monday 3rd July in OLH.
41st DUBLIN (St. Patrick’s, Dalkey) GROUP
3rd. Port of Dublin ~ Beavers, Cubs, Sea Scouts and Ventures
Peata is a
voluntary organisation established in 1996 to provide a pet therapy service
to caring institutions.
August 14th, Ms Alice Cullen will lead a guided walking tour of St. Patrick’s
Road, Castle Street and Tubbermore Road, Dalkey. Meet at 7.15p.m. at Dalkey
Heritage Centre, Castle Street , Dalkey.
DALKEY TABLE TENNIS
HYDE ROAD, DALKEY
MY GARDEN GARDEN – Philippa Thomas
If, so far this
summer, you haven’t had a chance to sit outside and enjoy being
in your garden, GRAB IT NOW ....A.S.A.P! Your garden is for sitting in,
eating in, dreaming in, marvelling in. Gardens really do heal tired minds
and worn out spirits. Make a cool drink, read a magazine, or simply just
Be and do nothing! It’s funny, I’m almost sure if you do you’ll
end up doing the exact opposite to your plans. Your hand will steal away
quietly and slyly pull up the odd weed or two. Before you know it, you’ll
have to stop yourself from re-organising, ‘dead-heading’,
thinning out, etc. I think these are the Best Times because they are spontaneous.
It’s natural, thinking and planning.
own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds and watch
the renewal of life - this is the commonest delight of the race, the most
satisfactory thing a man can do”
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Competition for all during Heritage Week 28th - 3rd September, 2006. Capture the faces, places and spaces in the county during that week. 1st prize - €300; 2nd prize - €200; 3rd Prize - €100. Details from DLRCC.or www. dlrcoco.ie/library.
Letters to the Editor
9th May 2006
ROAD SIGNS FOR ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH
NATURE CORNER – Michael Ryan
|On an early morning
in June I was bringing the dog into the woodland of Killiney Hill at a spot
a tall Larch tree lies fallen across the path. There was something perched on top of this fallen tree and
as I approached it I still couldn’t make out what it was. It was an odd mix of black and bright shiny
colours which suggested a discarded item of clothes seemed to be the most likely explanation
although it still seemed to have a strangely animal-like shape. The dog couldn’t figure out what it was
either and approached it very cautiously. Then I saw it was a cat. It was sitting motionless on the log
with a popcorn bag wedged over its head down to its shoulders. For a moment I thought it might be
dead, a brutal act of senseless violence against a small creature, then I saw it was tensing up at the
dog’s - by now - frantic barking. Much more likely was the cat had put its head into the bag perhaps
squeezing down into it after the salt at the bottom of the bag and had got stuck!
Anyhow, although I am not a big cat fan due to their senseless predation on birds and small animals, I
couldn’t leave it there defenceless and reached down to take the bag off its head. I needn’t have
worried about its defencelessness though. As soon as I touched the bag the cat jumped about a foot off
the log lashing out a paw and ripping about ten long scratches into my hand before - now the bag was
well gone - racing up the nearest tree. I continued my walk with blood flowing freely from my hand
and only too glad to recount my experience to anyone who might ask.
The cat seemed no worse for its experience but it just shows what a threat discarded litter can be to
wildlife. Some of the worst damage is caused in the sea where, apart from miles of discarded fishing
nets, thousands of tons of plastic in various forms can float around for years before being swallowed
by fish or turtles. Plastic bags, having the same shape in the water as jellyfish, which form a major
part of the turtles’ diet, cause the turtles to often swallow them with the result frequently being a
lingering death because the plastic bag doesn’t degrade in their stomachs. Discarded fishing lines and
hooks cause death to fish and birds long after they’ve been discarded by their human users. Earlier
this year there was a Red Throated Diver in Dun Laoghaire Harbour wrapped in fishing line which
would ultimately restrict the bird’s ability to fish but left it mobile enough to escape anybody trying to
The plastic rings that hold six pack cans of beer together are a perfect size for getting stuck around the
necks of animals, birds and fish. I always try to follow the example of a friend who always tore these
plastic rings apart so wherever they end up they can’t do any further damage.
Fulmars and Albatrosses are very prone to accidentally ingesting plastic, being surface feeders who
only have a fleeting moment to see and scoop up food from the waters surface. A small bit of red
plastic could easily be mistaken for a piece of gutted fish. AFulmar found dead in the US was found
to contain 59 pieces of plastic! The variously shaped indigestible pieces of plastic would have
eventually blocked the bird’s gut possibly causing it to weaken and die.
A retired oceanographer in the States, Curt Ebbesmeyer, has become an expert on the rubbish that
pollutes the world’s oceans. He was able to deduce that a piece of plastic marked “VP-101” found in
the stomach of a dead albatross chick along with cigarette lighters, bottle caps and hundreds of other
pieces of plastic, was likely to be a Bakelite tag for a U.S. Navy patrol squadron during World War II,
and could, indeed, have floated in the ocean for 60 years before the albatross swallowed it.
It’s estimated thousands of containers get lost overboard from ships every year and their contents can
be floating around the oceans for years. With computer programmes Ebbesmeyer and his colleagues
can accurately predict where currents can carry man-made debris from such spills including hockey
gloves from a container that spilled 34,000 of them; Nike tennis shoes and trainers from container
spills between 1990 and 2003 (currents carried the lefts to certain beaches, the rights to other shores!)
and 29,000 First Years’ bathtub toys consisting of yellow ducks, blue turtles, green frogs and red
As individuals there isn’t much we can do about it apart from picking up any rubbish we find on the
beach and it’s a depressing thought how much harm we’ve already done to the planet.
LATE ARRIVALS EARLY DEPARTURES
In early August, if the weather has been good, the skies can often resound to the high pitched
screeching calls of tightly bunched groups of Swifts hurtling over the rooftops hunting insects in the
warm air. These are family groups of these lovely little birds and sadly most of them will be gone by
mid-August already migrating south. Their total reliance on high flying insects which only rise in the warm air means they need warm weather so our latest arriving migrant is our first to depart.
THE STURDY ELM TREE
There are a few different species of Elm tree but the Elm’s main claim to fame is sadly because of their
susceptibility to Dutch Elm disease which devastated elms in the UK and Ireland during the 1970’s.
Elms were more a feature of the English countryside then here where their tall native English Elms
were a prominent feature of hedgerows on farmland. Dutch Elm disease, whose name originates from
Holland where it was first identified, is caused by a beetle whose presence in the tree ultimately
creates a fungus which prevents the sap rising up the bark and the tree effectively starves leaving the
trees with peeling bark on dead trunks and a few suckers growing out of the base. The only way to
combat the disease was to cut down the remaining trunk and burn the infected timber. Thousands of
elms disappeared from the English countryside and the situation was mirrored here to a lesser extent.
Many trees here were left alone after they caught the disease and after initial damage many of the
trees held on to a glimmer of life and after a while shoots regrew from the base. The Dutch Elm disease beetle can recur after nine years but many trees here have made a substantial recovery. Ireland’s native elm is the Wych Elm and thankfully this tree isn’t as susceptible to the disease. I’m not 100% certain which species - the English or Wych - is growing in the grounds of the Church of the Assumption in Dalkey opposite St. Begnet’s Graveyard, but it’s a splendid healthy looking specimen. Many English elm have regenerated themselves on Dalkey and Killiney hills in the park and I’ve even had one appear in my garden almost certainly planted by a bird passing the seed through its digestive system.
Flowers appear on the trees in early spring soon turning into seeds which fall before the leaves appear. These seeds are evidently a very nutritious food source very popular with Bullfinches and for the last two years I’ve seen Red Squirrels feeding on them on Killiney Hill. A lady in the Britain actually has a theory that the Red Squirrels disappearance before the ever expanding population of Grey Squirrels is partly due to the loss of the elm seeds as a food source. Elms, although sometimes in the past very frail and unhealthy looking, are living proof of that old adage that where there’s life there’s hope.
|LINK TO : August Diary Events|
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