Discovering the birds, bugs and bats in Mountmellick

Collecting bugs  at Emo Court on Saturday  for the Bug Hotel  event -during Heritage Week , werw: Raife , Niall and Katelynne Egan .       Photo: Michael Scully - no reproduction fee .
From dawn ‘till dusk a busy day is planned for Mountmellick Biodiversity Day next Saturday May 16, to discover the wildlife that lives along the river and in nearby woods.

From dawn ‘till dusk a busy day is planned for Mountmellick Biodiversity Day next Saturday May 16, to discover the wildlife that lives along the river and in nearby woods.

“The day is about enjoying, respecting and protecting our local wildlife, all are welcome and all the events are free,” said Mountmellick’s Ricky Whelan from Laois Offaly Irish Wildlife Trust, one of the organisers.

The fun starts at the crack of dawn, 5.15am in the bluebell filled Garryhinch woods on the Portarlington road, with a Dawn Chorus Walk led by a Birdwatch Ireland expert.

The focus then switches to the Owenass river beside Irishtown Amenity Park, for a ‘River Wildlife Discovery at 11am followed by a Bug Hotel Build and Bug Hunt at 12 noon, hosted by Inland Fisheries.

“Kids will be catching species and observingthem, building a permanent home for creepy crawlies, then hunting for guests with nets and pots,” said Ricky.

At 2pm, a free movie will show in the Balcony Cinema, ‘Fern Gully - The Last Rainforest’. Booking required.

The final event is a River Bat Walk. Meet at MDAcarpark, Irishtown, at 9.15pm.

Local and national groups are hosting the day, including Mountmellick’s Environment Group, Tidy Towns, Angling Club, Gun Club and schools, and Inland Fisheries Ireland, Laois/Offaly branch of Irish Wildlife Trust, Birdwatch Ireland, and the county council.

A grant of €1500 is funding bat and bird boxes and new wildlife information signs along the river in the town.

The day is part of a plan to enhance natural habitats in six Laois towns, by local ecologist Dr Fiona MacGowan.

For queries email iwtlaoisoffalybranch@gmail.com