from the river side.
from the river side.
Just a quick spin down the river by bicycle yesterday afternoon - you would have to agree the River Barrow is looking fantastic in the sunshine.
Athy Waterways in conjunction with Kildare Bat Group will host a Bat Walk on Saturday 22nd of August at 8:15 pm
Meet at the Jetty in the back square of the town beside the River Barrow
Come along for a "Walk and Talk" Via the River Barrow about our native Bats which make Athy Waterways their home
For more information Contact Clifford on 087 2061 999
The Horse Bridge
THE HORSE BRIDGE
Love is sweet, where the waters meet,
Beneath the Horse Bridge, near sweet Athy,
Where lovers roam and salmon leap,
And the lark sings merrily, in the clear blue sky.
I have travelled far, I have travelled wide,
And many's the sight I've seen,
But home to me is where the waters meet,
Beneath the Horse Bridge near sweet Athy.
Oh what a pleasure when at your leisure,
To stroll slowly down by the Barrow side,
Oh what a treat when old friends meet,
Beneath the Horse Bridge near sweet Athy.
Curse you emigration, you took away my pride,
You took away my bride to be and left me here to weep,
Where the salmon leap and the waters meet,
Beneath the Horse Bridge, near sweet Athy.
by Paddy Walsh
New signs on the grand canal
Bat's on the Barrow
Delighted to of received a email from Anna of Kildare Bat Group with a review of our recent event Bats on the Barrow ,
Enjoy the read and let us know if you enjoyed the evening too
"Some weeks ago I got a nice email from Athy Community Men's Shed wondering if I had any bat roost box designs the lads could have to make up a few. Having previously made and put up 120 bird nesting boxes around Athy which I found really impressive (I’m also on the Kildare bird watch Ireland committee).
We got chatting heritage week was coming up and the Kildare bat group had been lucky enough to have received a grant from Bridget Loughlin Kildare heritage grant system we were looking for events to join. Athy Men’s Shed and Athy Waterways kindly asked the bat group along on a dusk walk along the Barrow River.
It turned about to be a cold wet dreary evening with the eerie beat of the dragon boat rowing in sink to the beat of the drum. I really expect to see Vikings appear from under the bridge very tribal ethnic start to the evening. Gerry told me that each May bank holiday there are dragon racing up and down the barrow, its mad craic folks this should definite must see folks. On the far side of the bank my eyes were drawn to a vast number of mallard ducks which I learnt later were part of an initiative Athy Waterways are involved in…….
As I stood waiting chatting with the lads about bats, box designs and wildlife J all my favourite topics. We were joined by another member of the bat group Caroline Mac Donald. I always get a sinking feeling waiting to see if anyone turns up and in case I muff up my words but I was bowled over by the number of people who turned up.
I started with a wee talk about bats.
Bats are Irelands only flying mammal. We have 11 record bat species in Ireland are resident. The two others we have 1 record each of a Brandt’s bat found in Wicklow national park by Enda Mullin NPWS and the greater horse bat found in an derelict old building in the wine cellar by Paul Scott!
We have 3 species the most common are the common and soprano (are our smallest bat) and Nathusius pip which prefers large lakes like Lough Neagh but a few have been spotted down along Liffey so who knows maybe I will be lucky and get to record along the barrow if I’m asked J.
This includes are water bat the Daubentons bat which skims 30 cm above the water can sounds like a machine gun on a heterodyne bat detector.
This family also contains two woodland bats Natters and Whiskered which also sound like a machine on the detector but their flight patterns are different.
Another woodland bat we have is the brown long eared bat my favourite. It’s got massive ears and has the extra ability to turn off its echolocation and sneak up on its favourite food item – moths
The Leislers bat is our biggest bat and tens to fly high above the trees and looks like a swift and emerges first in the evening.
And final we have lesser horse bats which occur west of the Shannon are only resident bat that truly hangs up side down because it can’t bend its knees.
All are bats are insectivores they only eat insects. They can eat between 2500 and 3500 insects per night 1/3 of their body weight. They are the farmer’s friend helping to keep down insect numbers and pollinating plants. Bats can be used as biodiversity marker for species richness so to have bats about demonstrates how good the habitats are. And the barrow didn’t let us down we found possibly 5 out of the 9 resident species during the course of the walk.
The group try dispelling some of the myths about bats i.e. bats are not rodents they are more akin to man than mice. They are not blind but can see perfectly well in dusk like conditions as the structure of the eyes are different from ours in that they have more rods on the retina. They have an extra sense than us humans. They can get about in dark by using echolocation by this I mean a bat make noise through it nose or mouth sending out sound waves which bounces back to them when the waves come in contact with an insect it can tell which way the its flying if its hard or soft bodied. So by using this it avoids trees, walls and most of all peoples HAIR J. They do not bred like mice but have 1 pup every one to two years if conditions are right.
All the females come together in area to a nice draught free attic a maternity roost to have their babies not all the females have young some act as crèche supporters. Bats are very socially animals and are not in competition with one another so you can a few species in the same roost. A young bat is feed on milk for the first 8 week of its life. The first time it starts to fly is the first time it gets to eat an insect.
It shadows it mother to learn where best places to feed are and roost during the day. In September / Novembers the males sit up in the trees and sing their little heart out to attract the females. Bats hibernate during the winter months when there are no insects are flying. If you disturb a bat in hibernation it takes the poor wee thing 15 minutes to wake and realize it’s in danger so the possibly of it not surviving afterwards as it may not have enough fat reserves to make it through the winter. It has the ability to slow its metabolism down to about 20/3 beats per minutes and it’s important that the bat keep its core body temperature low that why they look for crevices in old stone buildings and bridges.
Bat tends to use hedge row and treelines like we use roads to get about. Bats are normally tree dwelling but because we have gotten so health and safety conscious we remove all tree we consider dangerous so trees with holes broken limbs are taken down. The bats are very adaptable and have taken to our buildings to use as roosts.
Birds of prey, owls, cats and man are the bats man predators.
While I was giving this we thrilled to see common pips appear from the stone wall behind us and fly towards the river. We used heterodyne detectors to listen to the bats on the walk this converts the bats sounds in audible tones for us to hear. Each bat has different sound pips pops slap for pips. The raspberry affect is a feeding buzz of the bat as it munches up the insects like midges caddis flies moths etc. as we followed the course of the river we passed over a little humpback bridge with loads of reeds along the edge of river. It was a hive activity of both soprano and common pips a possible roost. When we reached the weir the bat activity was incredible and we saw daubentons bats going up and down the river with aid of a red light touch so as not to disturb them with white light. And we listened to them on the detectors. We also got common and soprano pips and possibly natterers and Whiskered going on their flight patterns and heterodyne detection. I also recorded the bats using a real time detector EM3 and will use sound analyses to definitely identify the other myotis but I still have a lot of home work to do on that one. I really enjoyed the night and was thrilled with the crowd amazed by the bat activity and delighted to meet a likeminded group of people. And I hope to lend you a hand when the boxes are ready if you like. Also happy to come along and survey other sites round Athy if any bodies interested in tagging along or if the tidy towns would like to do bats as part of the biodiversity aspect.
All I can say IS THANKS A MILL .
Kildare Bat Group can be contacted here :
The clicking noise is the noise the bats make - picked up by the little detector . The red light is a filtered len's over a regular torch which will not disturb the bats.
Athy Rowing and Canoeing Club (ARC) will be on the streets of Athy tomorrow, Saturday 4th, holding their annual collection day. All funds collected will assist in providing access to the sports for the people of South Kildare and further afield. This includes equipment, training and insurance. In addition, the club helps to maintain the stretch of Athy Waterways from Rathstewart to Ardreigh. This includes litter picking, landscaping and the development of the stretch for all users. Funds raised will assist greatly with these undertakings also. If you are in Athy tomorrow, any financial assistance you can give to the club would be gratefully received and welcomed. Many thanks. Cliff Reid ( Chairman ARC) http://www.athyrowingcanoeing.com/
Athy Takes barrow awards
Athy secured the Top Spot at the Barrow Awards held recently at the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow. The Awards which covers the length of the Barrow from its source in the Slieve Blooms to the tidal waters of New Ross is an initiative by the County Councils of Laois, Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford, in conjunction with Waterways Ireland. Held yearly, it seeks to promote and enhance the natural resources of the river. While there were several awards on the night for various categories, Athy beat off the competition from all counties to take first place and secure the coveted over all title as Winner 2013. The application which was made on behalf of the town by the North Barrow branch of the Inland Waterways Association (IWAI) highlighted many of the initiatives undertaken locally over the past year that resulted in increased usage and development of the town’s waterways. Some of the undertakings mentioned on the night included; the production and distribution of 3,000 brochures throughout the country highlighting Athy’s Waterways, the maintenance of riverside walkways and the clearing off & restoration of the old graveyard wall on the Canal bank at Cardington.
In addition to receiving the award, the North Barrow branch of the IWAI were also awarded €1000 to assist with their efforts. From their prize fund, the North Barrow branch have kindly donated €200 each to the Tidy Towns Committee and Athy Rowing & Canoeing club in recognition of their efforts in maintaining the waterways. The remainder of the prize fund is earmarked for specific projects on the waterways including signage highlighting Athy’s facilities and further maintenance & painting works. Speaking on their plans for the coming year, Chairman Barry Keatley said “Our main objectives for the coming months include providing additional mooring posts below Whites Castle and installing freshwater & electricity facilities on the Jetty. This will involve the branch continuing to work very closely with Athy Town Council who have been very supportive of our endeavours in the past”.
In recent times, Athy’s Waterways have been transformed. Most evenings, the waterways around Athy plays host to Fishing, Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking, Cycling, Rowing, Boating and many other activities. The Barrowline track is perfect for facilitating these activities along with catering for those just out to enjoy an evening stroll. Marketed through www.athywaterways.com and www.facebook.com/athywaterways , Athy has been successful over the past few months, in attracting eight boats to take up permanent residency in the town centre. In addition, it has been very successful in attracting tourists on cycling, hiking, canoeing and fishing holidays. Speaking at the Awards night, Cliff Reid PRO of the branch said “the Facebook page and website have been extremely successful so far. I’ve met with several visitors to the town that got in contact this way. While most have been from within the Republic, we have had a group of 16 canoeist form Northern Ireland, a group of 22 Hikers from Scotland wishing to walk the Barrow Way to St Mullin and a newly married couple from Germany over to cycle the Barrow Way also. Athy, at the meeting point of the Grand Canal and River Barrow is the starting point for those tackling the Barrow Way and we have sought to Market the town in this regard. While this initiative is only in its infancy, it clearly demonstrates town’s potential from a tourism perspective, if focused on the waterways and outdoor activities”.
Following their recent success, the North Barrow branch is to be honoured by the local Town Council with a civic reception in recognition of their community involvement and dedication to the promotion and development of the waterways.
Please keep an eye out for these little guys , they are harmless to humans , but we don't need them in our waterways .
If you do manage to notice them please report them to Inland Fisheries Ireland
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