WILDLIFE AND MORE!

The Aughrus Peninsula abounds with wild life: birds, some (shy) mammals, butterflies, moths (for a small selection of our own collection of photos of butterflies and moths - all taken on the Aughrus Peninsula - click HERE - and we have a gallery below, on this page, also), and of course a vast and ever-changing array of wild plants and flowers.


Birds:

Connemara plays host to a wide selection of birds, land-birds, sea-birds and shore-based waders.



Oystercatchers (right, at Tra Mhor) are ubiquitous around the Peninsula; they are very beautiful in flight. Their call, and the call of the Curlew, also commonly seen here, are evocative and lonely, mirroring the wildness of this region.





During the summer, the chattering sound of the Skylark (left) is heard everywhere; in early summer, Cuckoos call constantly. In all of the fields and in rough ground, Wheatears abound (not called "White-Arse" for nothing!), and the gravel-clinking call of the Stonechat is also very common. Wrens nest in every chink in every dry-stone wall; Robins, various species of Tits and Finches, and many other garden birds, are everywhere seen, especially where food is left out to attract them. And among the raptors, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Peregrine Falcons are quite commonly seen. The variety is huge.


The Corncrake is a bird which at one time was common in Ireland, but now is uncommon; corncrakes occur and breed only in a few localised spots in Ireland, including on the Aughrus Peninsula. This corncrake was photographed by Liz Massey in late June 2014, on Omey Island, and we're delighted to share this rare enough image.


Mammals:



Sea-Otters may be seen at many locations on the peninsula, if you're out and about at dawn or dusk especially: Rossadilisk beach, Cleggan harbour...the photos of mammals shown here are not, sadly, our own, though all the other photos, of flowers, birds, butterflies, moths, lizards... are indeed ours.

There are local stories about "the Mad Otter of Omey Island" - a giant otter which lives somewhere between Fahy Lake and the beach and rocks on the west side of the island. We like the story, but suggest that perhaps the mad otter of Omey is best viewed after copious quantities of the Black Stuff...


The weasel (common in Great Britain) didn't make it across to Ireland before the ice bridge melted at the end of the Ice Age. But the stoat did, and is now a distinct species: the Irish Stoat. Because the smaller weasel wasn't there to compete, the stoat in Ireland evolved to be larger in size than a weasel but smaller than the stoat seen in Great Britain. You will fairly often see them on road verges, or running along the tops of roadside walls, on the peninsula. They're vicious enough little creatures, but you're not likely to be up close and personal with one; just watch and enjoy.







The Irish Hare is also a distinct species, known to have existed in Ireland before as well as after the Ice Age. Much larger than the common rabbit (also extremely common here), the hare is notable for its size, its large back legs and its giant, upright ears. You will see them in fields and rough ground, and often on the narrow roads of the peninsula.



Wild flowers:

Below we present a gallery of some of the hundreds of species of wildflowers you'll see on the peninsula in late Spring and early Summer; we'll be adding to these pictures over time.

We don't pretend to be experts on naming wildflowers! We can name some (see the names on the bottom left of each photo either when you hover the mouse over the thumbnail picture, or when you click to enlarge them), but others are a mystery to us. IF YOU KNOW THE NAME OF A PLANT SHOWN BELOW, WHICH DOESN'T YET HAVE A NAME, DO MAIL US (USE THE "CONTACT US" PAGE), AND WE'LL BE HAPPY TO ADD THE PLANT NAME, AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OWN NAME AS IDENTIFIER! Hint for viewing gallery: when you click on a thumbnail, you can hover the mouse about two-thirds of the way up each side, and click "Next" or "Previous", to see the whole gallery as a slideshow.

 

IF YOU HAVE TAKEN PHOTOS OF INSECTS, FLOWERS, BIRDS, MAMMALS, ETC, ON THE PENINSULA, WHY NOT CONTACT US; AND WE'LL PUT THEM ONTO THIS SITE, AND OF COURSE WE'LL ACKNOWLEDGE YOU AS THE PHOTOGRAPHER.

 

Butterflies and Moths:

Below we present a small gallery showing a small sample of the moths and butterflies we've photographed on this peninsula (see the link at the top of this page if you'd like to see our collection which hangs as a permanent exhibition in the Connemara Wildlife Park's picnic area). Most aren't rare, but they're lovely to see nonetheless. AND..these are creatures you can spot outside your front door, especially if you leave your outside light on at night; or around the garden; or on walks around the area.

 

Reptiles:


Everyone knows that St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland! Well, he did of course; but he left behind the Common Lizard.

These are fairly common, but easy to miss. Some years, you can keep your eyes peeled and see none; other years, you'll practically trip over them on every walk (well, that's a slight exaggeration).  Look out for them on warm days when they're out sunbathing - often on a rough track, or on roadside verges (usually half in and half out of the grassy verge).

They're completely harmless, of course, and much more afraid of you than you may of them. It'll shed its tail if you get close enough to try to pick one up. We photographed this specimen on Cleggan Head, but you can see them anywhere, including sometimes in your house, and it brings you great luck if one takes up residence for a while there - and of course it will act as a free fly-killer.

 

Rarities:

There are some rarities to be spotted on the Aughrus Peninsula and Omey Island, if you know what you're looking for.

For example, we have it on good authority (from a visitor who was a stags-head beetle expert) that Omey Island plays host to a very rare species of such insects - and who are we to argue??

And there's more!  You may not love the little larva shown on the right - but we do! This we photographed in our own garden in Emlough (just above Rossadilisk). Puzzled because we couldn't identify it, we sought help. Lo! It turns out to be the larva of the Pine Sawfly (Diprion pini); the Irish experts on sawflies actually identified it from a 19th century painting. This little creature is now, we understand, the reference photograph for the Diprion pini larva (that's what 'they' said, anyway) - and we are confident that it represents the most westerly sighting in Europe of such a creature. So there!


 And, finally, there's still more!

There's something about the rocks and stones here that just brings out the sculptor in people! Below we present a gallery of some we've spotted on the Peninsula (if you made one of them, send us a mail via our Contact Us page, and we'll acknowledge you!). And YOU may have made some others yourself - if so, why not send us a photo, so that everyone can see it for themselves??