Buckroney is unusual in that it is exclusively a sand dune nature reserve, and for this reason has very unique wildlife. The Common Blue (Polydommatus icarus) is a small but colourful butterfly, and the males will attack any flying insect entering their territory if it looks like it might be a rival butterfly. They will pretty much have a go at anything, even a bit of tissue waved at them. Like the one in the photo they like to perch on tall stems so they can survey the land.
Dunes have uniqe plants too, such as the beautiful low-growing and extremely spiky Burnet Rose (Rosa pimpinellifolia), which usually has cream yellow blooms but in places has pink or reddish, probably due to chemicals in the certain areas.
In many areas the sand is exposed, and this keeps the temperatures high in the dunes. Grasses tend to grow thinly, and in some places you find peculiar-looking ball-like objects. These strange things are actually a species of puffball fungus. In this case it is the Brown Puffball (Bovista nigrescens).
But for me the most interesting find on the dunes was a collection of about forty little mounds of sand with holes in their tops making them seem like volcanoes. I knew they had to belong to bees, but when a bee did show up it was tiny, but it entered the little mound. This species, which was new to me, is one of the Lasioglossum bees, which are a type of Sweat Bee. In the tropics they cause great annoyance by drinking sweat from people’s skins – but at least they don’t bite! However, in Ireland they are not a problem at all.
We are now in the depths of winter, which is kind of ironic as the cold weather has not properly arrived yet. However, every day now brings us closer to the summer, and everyday is slightly longer than the last. The fascinating thing about winter is that there is a lot of wildlife out there, but we just don’t see it because the nights are so long (sunrise is almost at 8.30 am and darkness falls before 5 pm). A couple of days ago I was amazed to find footprints on the sand of the sea shore. I’m pretty sure they were the prints of a hind (female) Sika Deer, although they are somewhat like those of goats. However, I know there is a herd of deer living quite near the shore, but have not seen any goats. Sika, Red Deer and goat prints can be quite alike.
There is interesting wildlife to be found absolutely everywhere on earth, but it often goes unnoticed, including larger animals like deer. Not that this track is quite shallow. Also note that my foot is on the right side print and you are looking at a left one.