Tag Archives: Brown Trout

Still To See

It’s the last full week of August now and many people would think summer was drawing to an end, but there are still plenty of wonderful wild things to see in Wicklow. If you look in the streams right now you have a very good chance of seeing Brown (Sea) Trout parr (sub-adults) (Salmo trutta) in the crystal clear waters. In fact, there are loads of them and they are very handsomely marked and coloured:

Also, due to the very balmy winter, subsequent early spring, and the fairly consistent summer we’ve had this year, many birds have had more than one brood of youngters. It would seem some have had as many as three broods. Here is a Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) I saw feeding one of three fledglings which were moving through willow tree canopies with it.

Finally, keep an eye out for a lovely little bright red flower known as the Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis). This tiny flower opens and closes depending on the weather, and is famously used to predict coming weather as it will often open or close in advance of sun or rain, respectively. Most people will know the Scarlet Pimpernel as a swashbuckling hero of novels and films, but almost as many people are left wondering what a ‘pimpernel’ is exactly. Believe it or not it’s a very old Latin word for pepper – piperinella, which got modified over the centuries by the addition of an m. There is also a Bog Pimpernel and a Yellow Pimpernel, and, ridiculously, Scarlet Pimpernel can itself also be pink or royal blue in colour. However, it is mostly red in colour, as the name suggests. Anyhow, I personally feel a swashbucking hero going by the name ‘The Scarlet Pepper’ doesn’t really have the same ring to it, so long live Pimpernel!

Goodbye July!

Unfortunately this year we had a somewhat cool and overcast July. This has been due to the peculiarities of the weather system which has seen weeks of rain clouds crossing the Atlantic to arrive on top of Ireland. However, there has still been some wildlife to see, and for this instalment I want to share some videos I made. Here is video of a Red Kite, which is a species which was deliberately reintroduced to Ireland, with Wicklow as the focus point:

Red Kites are mainly scavengers, and are huge birds, but will happily take prey too, especially small rabbits. They are the only large bird in Europe with a forked tail.

Now here’s something a little different from the micro jungle, a Zebra Jumping Spider with a woolly aphid as prey. It takes a moment to get the focus exactly right but it does make for an interesting scene:

Also from the microcosm, here’s a little moth you will commonly see feeding on flowers during daylight hours in summer, the Nettle-tap Moth. They are very curious little moths:

Now is the time to see spiderlings emerging, and the most spectacular are those of the orb-weaver spiders. There are several species and they can be hard to tell apart when they’re so young, but I think these in the video below belong to the Segmented Orb-weaver, but there is also a small chance they are Garden Spiders:

But just because you see web tents it doesn’t mean they were made by spiders. Many insects also spin webs, especially caterpillars of butterflies and moths. Check out the incredible web-tents of these beautiful and very numerous Peacock butterfly caterpillars. They feed on nettles exclusively, which is why they are popular with many people. Peacock butterflies also hibernate:

Finally, if you are in Wicklow at this time of year take a look into the shallow streams and you will almost certainly see Brown Trout. In summer they are very numerous in the streams but are not always a guaranteed sighting as they migrate around rivers from shallower to deeper waters and vice versa depending on the time of year.

Trout About

Wicklow certainly got its fair share of rain last night, and there are a few showers still knocking about right now, with the promise of a deluge overnight and tomorrow. But the streams and rivers are still relatively clear, and it’s good and sunny, so keep an eye out for Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) in the sandy shallows.

A small Brown Trout basking in a very shallow river. Keep your eyes peeled.
A small Brown Trout basking in a very shallow river. Keep your eyes peeled.

They are brilliant at looking like bits of waterweed, so watch for any movement, make light steps on the river banks (because they will feel heavy vibrations) and move very slowly, and you will almost certainly get good views, especially if you’re next to one of the many little hump-back bridges which are found throughout Wicklow.