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Irish Radio Treasures

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New Natural History series on RTE 1 and Cape Clear courses

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IWDG were once again delighted to be invited to contribute to a Crossing the Line natural history production and the “whale” show recorded off Dunmore East on Martin Colfer’s MV Rebecca C back in Jan 2012 will air on Sun 9th June on RTE Radio 1 at 7:00 pm.  A full schedule of this 10 part series is given below.  For those of you who have missed the first two shows, they are available at:  

NATURE ON ONE 10 x 30min Natural History Radio Documentary Series STARTS SUNDAY 5th MAY 2013 on Radio 1 at 7pm Bringing the sounds of Ireland’s natural world to Radio 1 listeners This ten-part radio documentary series sees Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman and television presenter Colin Stafford Johnson turn his talents to radio. Colin travels across the country on the hunt for some of our most remarkable animals and wild places. Tune in and allow yourself to be transported to Skellig Michael, with its noisy storm petrels, manx shearwaters and puffins; or into the midst of a grey seal colony on the windswept Inishkea Islands; venture below ground and imagine yourself being surrounded by swarming bats; or experience the sounds recorded inside a starling roost under a Belfast bridge. Over the course of ten weeks, Colin will guide his audience on an intimate tour of Ireland’s natural world. A Crossing the Line Production on behalf of RTÉ Radio One & BAI Sound & Vision   EPISODE 1  A Night on the Skellig Rocks In 600AD early Christian monks chose Skellig Michael, 11km off the Kerry coast, as a location for a monastery ‘on the edge of the known world’ which they believed would bring them closer to God. In this episode Colin Stafford Johnson spends a night on Skellig Michael, to record the wild sounds to be heard at this World Heritage Site – introducing the puffins, storm petrels and manx shearwaters who also choose to make their home on this rocky outcrop. In addition to meeting its wild inhabitants, Colin talks to OPW guides who spend the summer living on the island, and tourists who have made the day trip; as well as a local diver who describes the Skellig landscape below the surface.   EPISODE  2  The Burren: a special place for bumblebees, plants and people Colin Stafford Johnson visits Slieve Carron Nature Reserve in the Burren, Co. Clare. The Burren is unique and is known throughout the world for its vast limestone pavements, but far from being a barren landscape, as Dr Brendan Dunford explains, the Burren holds a diverse flora, a mix of Mediterranean and alpine plants found nowhere else in Ireland. It is also home to some of Ireland’s rarest bumblebees. When you hear Ecologist Dr Jane Stout’s take on bumblebees you will never see a passing bee the same way again, but as furry, endearing creatures! Colin learns about the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme and meets local farmer Pat Nagle. We also meet 13-year-old Jack McGann, graduate of Ecobeo, a course for young people on the natural, cultural and archaeological heritage value of this landscape.   EPISODE 3 The Seal Colony of the Inishkeas Colin Stafford Johnson joins grey seal expert Dr Oliver O’Cadhla on a visit to South Inishkea, off the Mullet Peninsula, home to one of Ireland’s largest grey seal breeding colonies. Having spent years researching the seals at this colony, Oliver is passionate about this place and these animals and explains their struggle to survive in this harsh environment. It’s mid-October and very cold. There are lots of pups on the beach, but they won’t all make it. The mothers are busy feeding their young, while the large dominant male seals protect their harem. On this remote wild island, we get a peek into the secret lives of the grey seals that are born there.   EPISODE 4  Species in Danger In this episode of ‘Nature on One’, Colin Stafford Johnson seeks out one of our most endangered species, the curlew. Searching across bog in Co. Mayo, Colin sets out to record the once familiar call of this iconic bird of Irish peatlands and Ireland’s largest wader. Anita Donaghy, from Birdwatch Ireland, explains why the curlew is in decline and their ‘Cry of the Curlew’ campaign. [see http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/Ourwork/CryoftheCurlewAppeal/tabid/1106/Default.aspx] Colin also wants to find out how some of our smaller, lesser known species – our snails and slugs – are doing. With a third of Irish mollusc species facing extinction, Colin is delighted to hear some good news for one species in Co. Longford as he meets up with Evelyn Moorkens to investigate a recently discovered site for one of our most rare animals, Desmoulins Whorl Snail, Vertigo moulinsiana.   EPISODE 5  Rise of the Pine Marten Historically widespread throughout the country, the pine marten suffered serious population decline due to habitat destruction, hunting for the fur trade; accidental poisoning and persecution by game-keepers so that, by the 1950s, it had become one of our rarest animals. But now the pine marten is on the rise once again and sightings are increasing across the midlands. Colin visits a small school in Co. Leitrim, in which a female pine marten chose to set up home and the pupils explain how they felt about this new addition to their school. Colin also explores the impact of this spread of the pine marten on other animals, meeting up with Emma Sheehy from NUI Galway in an Offaly woodland, where she is studying the interesting relationship between the pine marten, the red squirrel and the introduced grey squirrel.   EPISODE 6   Sunday 9th May, 7:00 pm Whaling off Hook Head Colin Stafford Johnson heads offshore with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, from Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, to try to find the second largest animal on earth, the fin whale. No less than 24 species of whales and dolphins have been recorded in Irish waters, ranging in size from the harbour porpoise to the blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived. Will they manage to track down what is known as the greyhound of whale species, the fin whale?   EPISODE 7  The Secret Life of Irish Caves – from swarming bats to ancient bones Late one Autumn night, Colin Stafford Johnson heads underground to explore what wildlife might be found in Irish caves. Colin meets bat specialist Conor Kelleher in Dunmore Cave, Co. Kilkenny, where they hope to witness the autumnal swarming of Natterer’s bats. This phenomenon of Autumnal swarming in caves was only discovered in Ireland last year, and it is still not known why the bats do it – using up valuable fat reserves just as their winter hibernation approaches. In addition to this living wildlife spectacle, caves are also important repositories for our extinct fauna. To find out why this is and what has been found in Irish caves, Colin heads to the Natural History Museum to meet Nigel Monaghan, Curator, and to examine some of the ancient remains found in Irish caves.   EPISODE 8 The Wild Side of Belfast We tend to think of wildlife as living in pristine countryside, in woodland, rivers and bogs, but this week Colin Stafford Johnson heads to the bustling city of Belfast to find out what wild stories it might have to offer. The River Lagan flows right through the centre of the city. Ronald Surgenor, is a Wier operative, Department of Culture, Arts, and Leisure, and RSPB volunteer, who knows the river intimately and Ronald kindly takes Colin out in his rib, to visit Albert Bridge, the site of an amazing wildlife display, a starling murmuration, and they venture right under the bridge for a close encounter with the birds as they roost for the night. Colin also meets Lucille Coates and some children from ‘Watch this Space’, a Belfast City Council monthly nature club; as well as a team of volunteers who are hedgelaying, with the Laganscape Project, which works to manage Lagan Valley Park, with involvement from local communities, school groups, businesses and volunteers.   EPISODE 9        Birdsong – why do birds sing and what does it mean to us humans? Colin Stafford Johnson explores that wildlife sound we often take for granted – birdsong. At the Devil’s Glen in Co. Wicklow, he meets up with Animal Behaviour expert and Head of the Zoology Department in Trinity College Dublin, Dr Nicola Marples, to ask her why birds sing, and how they learn their tunes. Colin also travels west to meet with Gordon Darcy, Natural History author, artist and environmental educator, to discuss what birdsong might mean for human beings and how it may enrich our lives, whether or not we recognise it.   EPISODE 10        ‘An Amphibian Love Story’ – Singing frogs and Nattering Toads How does one attract the opposite sex? It could be good looks, physical fitness, a nice home, or even how you smell! But what about how you sound? In some animals it’s all in the voice. Toads and frogs have developed impressive calls to attract a mate. In this episode, Colin Stafford Johnson looks at two of Ireland’s amphibians, the common frog and the Natterjack Toad, and sets out to record their unique calls. In February he explored a mass frog spawning site at Glendalough in Co. Wicklow with Rob Gandola, from the Irish Herpetological Society; and in April, Ferdia Marnell, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and local conservation ranger Pascal Dower visit a Natterjack Toad breeding pond at Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry.     IWDG Cape Clear Whale-Watching courses There are still some places left on the 1st of our summer weekend whale-watching courses May 31- June 2nd on Cape Clear, Co. Cork. These courses are available for members at a discounted rate of €70.  Over the weekend participants will learn both practical field-skills during land and boat based watches, as well as attend a series of talks covering cetacean ecology/biology, species identification and whale watching.  Given reasonable weather conditions these weekends generally provide sightings of porpoises, common dolphins and minke whales and at this time of year, we can’t rule out basking sharks, although admitedly this has been a very poor year to date for this species, due to the lower than normal water temperatures.   Enquiries to email: padraig.whooley@iwdg.ie or Ph. 353 (0)86 3850568   Whale Watch Ireland 2013, Sunday 18th August 2013, 2:00-5:00 pm We are once again delighted to announce that Inis, Cologne www.perfume.ie are providing funding support for All-Ireland whale watch day on Sunday 18th August. As always this event requires watch leaders willing to lead and promote your local watch.  If you have land- based whale watching experience, are good with crowds and have some energy and time to spare, we’d appreciate your contacting us, so we can start to compile a list of sites that we can cover on this event, which is one of the largest events on the Irish wildlife calender.  Please contact event organiser on email: padraig.whooley@iwdg.ie or Ph. 086-3850568

Add-ons;- Lismore area; http://youtu.be/GizCoPx45_Q

St Declan’s Way

 

Short clip on Tramore’s Metal Man; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7cTcenRev0&feature=youtu.be

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Irish Whale & Dolphin Watch seek researchers.

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The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation (SDWF) is seeking research assistants to conduct boat- and office-based bottlenose dolphin research June-September 2013 in Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland. For more information about the SDWF see www.shannondolphins.ie

The SDWF is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation and research of dolphins and wildlife in the Shannon Estuary with offices based in the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre, an interpretive centre open to the public and used to promote educational awareness of the dolphins and wildlife in the Shannon region. The SDWF was established by Dr Simon Berrow in 2000 following pilot work carried out by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group from 1993. The SDWF has a strong research background and has collaborated with a number of Irish and international research groups. Long-term monitoring of the bottlenose dolphin population in the Shannon has been carried out using photo-id since 1993 and static acoustics since 2001. The Shannon River estuary is presently the only candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for bottlenose dolphins in Ireland and is home to a resident population of dolphins living year-round in the estuary.

The SDWF is seeking voluntary research assistants for the 2013 field season to carry out dolphin research and education. Research assistants will be required to conduct monitoring surveys from dolphin-watching tour boats, spend a considerable amount of time on bottlenose dolphin photo-identification and related office tasks, and assist in the management of the dolphin centre on a daily basis. Photo-id training will be provided on the boats and in the office. There may also be opportunities for research assistants to help with research conducted on board the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s research vessels Muc Mhara and Celtic Mist and to assist the IWDG with cetacean strandings should the opportunity arise.

These positions provide an excellent opportunity to develop skills in marine research and education and to assist with one of the longest-running bottlenose dolphin population monitoring programs in the world.

WORK PERIOD

We are seeking skilled research assistants to commence on 1 June 2013. Research assistants are required full-time for four months, finishing 28 September 2013. Because of the training required, preference will be given to applicants who can commit to three or four months. However, those available for a shorter period of time will also be considered.

LOCATION

Kilrush is a small town located in west Clare on the northern shore of the Shannon Estuary. The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre is located less than 10 minutes’ walk from the town centre. West Clare is a beautiful place to work, but applicants are asked to be aware that it is also somewhat geographically isolated with limited facilities and variable weather patterns.

RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Conducting monitoring surveys from two dolphin-watching tour boats operating in the Shannon Estuary, collecting photo-id data and recording data on tour boat encounters with dolphin groups. Surveys involve one to four daily boat trips and are weather dependent – i.e. many days in a row if weather is good.

2. Photo-identification and database entry in the office, including fin identification, fin-matching, photo processing, sighting data entry and maintenance of our long-term photo-id catalogue. Research assistants should be prepared to work long days in the office entering data and analysing and organising photographs, including working with historic archived photographs and related data.

3. Dolphin centre duties, including general administrative tasks, receiving visitors to the dolphin centre, engaging with and educating members of the public, managing merchandise, updating websites and supporting and promoting SDWF, and raising awareness and membership participation. Also, general maintenance of research equipment and facilities.

As boat-based research is highly weather dependent, it can vary between weekdays and weekends. Assistants need to be available full-time including weekends and be prepared to work long, consecutive days, in the office during bad weather and in the field during good weather.

All volunteers will be given training in boat-based work and office tasks including observation and photo-identification of bottlenose dolphins, photo processing and database entry.

REQUIREMENTS

Essential

-Genuine interest in marine mammal biology, the marine environment and conservation

-Basic computer proficiency in MS Office

-Previous photo-identification experience or a strong desire to learn photo-id skills

-Excellent verbal and communication skills

-Enthusiastic with a positive attitude

-Sociable and team-oriented with the ability to get on well with others in a small team (3-4 people)

-Work well both in a team and independently

-A detail-oriented work ethic with an ability to work in a meticulous manner

-Conscientious, reliable, hard-working, and self-motivated

-Flexible and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent

-Prepared to work long days in the field or office

-Comfortable working on boats

-No history of debilitating seasickness

-Good English language skills

-Must be 18 years or older

Preferred but not essential

-Enrolled in or completed a degree in Biology, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Animal Behaviour, Ecology, Zoology or related fields

-Previous field research experience, especially in marine mammal research

-Prior experience working on boats

-A strong interest and knowledge of bottlenose dolphins and/or Irish cetaceans

-Experience in interacting with the public

-Familiarity with DSLR cameras and GPS equipment and software

-Prior experience with MS Access and IMatch

-Driving Licence

-Possibility to bring your own laptop for data entry

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Volunteers will be based in Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland and will be expected to work and live as part of a team with shared cooking and cleaning duties. Unfortunately, there is no monetary compensation for these positions and a contribution of €350 per month towards accommodation and utilities is required. Accommodation is provided in a shared house within walking distance of the dolphin centre and town of Kilrush. Research assistants are responsible for their own food costs and travel expenses to and from Kilrush, Ireland.

To apply, please send your CV (including two relevant referees and their contact information) and a covering letter with a brief description of yourself and what you hope to gain from this experience, details of why you would like to work on this specific project and any relevant experience you have to Isabel Baker (info@shannondolphins.ie). Please also specify the dates you expect to be able to join the project. Please put “Research Assistant” in the subject line of your email.

The closing date for applications is 14 April 2013. However, early application is recommended. Shortlisted candidates will be required to undertake a Skype interview in April. Successful applicants will be notified by early May.