4th February 2014: The first month of 2014 was an exciting month for new wildlife records at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre in Lullymore when for the first time an otter and red squirrel was spotted in the area by volunteers and staff. Otters live in freshwater and coastal habitats around Ireland and although there is plenty of freshwater peatland habitat in the Lullymore area this would not be a typical habitat for them. The Irish Pealand Conservation Council believe the otter may have being drawn away from its natural habitat which was possibly the canal due to recent flooding on cutaway peatlands in the area from the high rainfall we experienced during January. The otter is a protected species in Ireland, they have a good range however their population would be considered as poor. The main reasons for the poor population include water pollution and clearance of vegetation close to the habitat but also many are killed on our roads annually.
The second surprise visitor to the Bog of Allen Nature Centre was a red squirrel that came to the bird feeding station at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre. Squirrels are often unwanted visitors to bird tables around Kildare but in this case all staff and volunteers were delighted to see the red squirrel in Lullymore as it is a protected species in Ireland and is listed in the red list of the International Union for Conservation.
The Bog of Allen Nature Centre has submitted these sitghtings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre through their website www.biodiversityireland.ie. With Spring upon us the Bog of Allen Nature Centre encourages all members of the public to enjoy their natural environments around them and to particpate in recording wildlife by submitting thier sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The Bog of Allen Nature Centre is open to visitors Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.