2021 County Report for South-east Galway

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

What with COVID restrictions and being busy elsewhere, outings were limited.

  • One BSBI Galway Group outing in April confirmed Gentiana verna (spring gentian) sporadically in rough pasture east of Clarinbridge. It was also quite abundant in rough grassy gravel by the shore west of Ballinderreen and along old spoil heaps along the channel leading out of Creganna Marsh, just south of Oranmore. Most likely more such small sites remain to be found south and east of Galway city.
  • One key find in 2020 was Hypopitys monotropa (yellow bird’s nest) at Castletaylor by Áine Dillon. It had not been seen there since 1855! I checked and re-found it in a different spot in 2021. It seems to appear sporadically along the ‘Dark Road’ there, under the line of beeches.
  • Exploring one of the remaining woods in the Slieve Aughty mountains, Cephalanthera longifolia (sword leaved helleborine) was confirmed still present; we counted ca 20 spikes, along with the surprisingly locally rare Melampyrum pratense (common cow-wheat).
  • Early autumn work yielded some nice finds; the elusive Gentianella amarella (autumn gentian) was found in abundance alongside Coeloglossum viride (frog orchid) and Orobanche minor (common broomrape) in shallow soils in a corner of a field.
  • A canoe expedition on Lough Derg in August yielded some Potamogeton records for as-yet unrecorded monads; P. lucens and the rarer P. obtusifolius. Hottonia palustris and Stratiotes aloides, locally occasional, were confirmed for a new monad, as well as Myriophyllum verticillatum. Most of these are almost certainly under-recorded. However, we failed to locate Sorbus rupicola (rock whitebeam) not recorded for R79 on Lough Derg since 1953.

Hypopitys monotropa (yellow bird's nest)

One cluster along the ‘Dark Road’ under a long line of beeches at Castletaylor. M461149. 31st July 2021. About 31 spikes. Slightly different spot from sites found in 2020, along same line of beeches.

Orobanche hederae (ivy broomrape)

Over 280 spikes scattered under scrub along and around the drift line from HWM of Lough Derg. Southern end of long island, Inishdála Islands. R774938. 28th August 2021. Tall Juniperus communis nearby struggling under canopy (mostly ash)