OTHER ANIMALS - by Fintan Ryan
Insects, Amphibians and Reptiles
Many varieties of butterflies fly in the Borris area. Over the years I did a weekly survey for Biodiversity Ireland and below is the score for 2016.
You will note from Figure 1 Butterfly Survey season 2016 that I encountered 12 species.
One notable butterfly in the Borris area is the comma. In 2016 about half of the commas reported in the Irish survey were reported by me in Borris. The most common butterfly in our area is the ringlet.
PHOTOGRAPH 28: COMMA BUTTERFLY, BARROW LINE, 2020
FIGURE 1: BUTTERFLY SURVEY, SEASON 2016
There are many different species of bees in the countryside and in gardens in Borris. Bumble bees are plentiful. The honey bee, unfortunately, is getting rarer at the moment, it seems a combination of insecticides and disease may be the problem. In the 1950's the principals of both the Technical School and the National School, Jim Hennessy and Con Fitzgerald had large numbers of hives and produced local honey as indeed do a number of individuals still in our area.
Dragon and Damselflies
Dragon flies and damsel flies are very common by the rivers during the summer. They catch small insects on the wing with great accuracy. It is estimated that they catch 95% of the insects they target.
PHOTOGRAPH 29: DAMSEL FLY WITH CAPTURED MAYFLY, BORRIS LOCK, JUNE 2017
Frogs & Lizards
PHOTOGRAPH 30: IRISH LIZARD. [Photo: Irish Wildlife]
In the days when the railway cuttings were in use and not overgrown there were thousands of frogs living beside and between the track as well as in the drainage stream. A walk in the area was a great experience. A common sight, not so common now, were pools of water with frog spawn and tadpoles. Ireland has only one native frog species, the common frog.
The Irish Lizard was known in Borris by its Irish name, Earc luachra. They were commonly seen beside the Dinin in Scort. I remember, with my friend Sean Kiernan, grabbing one by the tail only for the tail to come off and the lizard scarper away. Yes, it seems this is a defence mechanism they have, and the tail grows back again.
PHOTOGRAPH 31: COMMON FROG TAKEN IN OUR GARDEN, BOG LANE, JUNE 2016