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«Prepared by Phoebe O’Brien, BSc (Hons. Botany) For The Ballyvaughan Community Development Group and Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark LIFE project ...»

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Ballyvaughan Tidy Towns Survey of

Wildlife and Natural Amenity 2014

Prepared by Phoebe O’Brien, BSc (Hons. Botany)

For The Ballyvaughan Community Development Group and

Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark LIFE project


I would like to thank Carol Gleeson of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark Life Project and

Padraig Cleary and the Ballyvaughan Development Group for enabling this wildlife survey and for

their support and direction. I would like to thank Dr Stephen Ward for his contribution to this survey, access to his bird records and general support. Many thanks also go to Dr Sharon Par and Emma Stewart-Liberty for their time, and for the butterfly, bird and moth information which they shared with me. I’m am very grateful for the support of Susan O’Donohoe who talked to so many people on behalf of the survey and for her knowledge regarding birds in the area. Thank you to everyone else who got involved in different ways.

Executive summary Adjacent to Ballyvaughan there are Special Areas of Conservation and a Special Area of Protection for birds. The habitats surrounding the village include some of national and international importance, notably limestone pavement, orchid-rich calcareous grassland, turloughs and saltmarshes. While these habitats are within walking distance of the village, calcareous grassland and saltmarsh habitats are also present within the village itself. In addition, there are 24 other habitats within the village, in which 146 species of plant have been recorded. One species, Cardamine impatiens is so rare that it is only known from two locations in Ireland. These habitats support birds, bees, butterflies, and mammals some of which require protection under Annex 2 of the Habitats Directive.

It is suggested that these habitats be managed in order to enhance their value to biodiversity, increasing and protecting the species which live in them.

Contents Acknowledgements

Executive summary


List of figures


List of tables

1 Introduction

2 Key objectives

3 Methodology

3.1 Scope of the survey

3.2 Survey methods

3.3 Limitations

4 The habitats of Ballyvaughan

Habitats of Ballyvaughan

4.1. BC3 Tilled land

4.2. BC4 Flowerbeds

4.3. BL1 Stone walls

4.4. BL3 Buildings and artificial surfaces

4.5 CB1 Shingle and gravel banks

4.6 CC1 Sea walls piers and jetties

4.7 CM1 Lower salt marsh

4.8. CM2 Upper Saltmarsh

4.9. ED3 Recolonising bare ground

4.10. ED5 Refuse and other waste

4.11. GM1 Marsh

4.12. GA1 Improved agricultural grassland

4.13. GA2 Amenity grassland (improved)

4.14. GS1 Dry calcareous and neutral grassland

4.15. GS2 Dry meadows and grassy verges

4.16. HD1 Dense Bracken

4.16. WD5 Scattered trees and parkland

4.17. WL1 Hedgerows

4.18. WL2 Treelines

4.20. WN2 Oak-ash-hazel woodlands

4.21. WS1 Scrub

4.22. WS2 Immature woodland

4.23. WS3 Ornamental/non-native shrub

4.24. Marine Habitats LR4 Mixed Substrate Shores

4.25. Marine Habitats LS5 Mixed Sediment shores

4.26. Marine Habitats LS1 Shingle and gravel shores

5. Areas with habitat of note

5.1. Site 1 BV holiday cottages grassland

5.2. Site 2 Church

5.3. Site 3 Saltmarsh

5.4. Site 4 Verges with orchids

5.5. Site 5 Narrow-leaved bitter-cress Cardamine impatiens near the bridge on the coast road 5.6. Site 6 Ballyvaughan Coast Hotel

5.7. Site 7 Old Church-yard

5.8. Site 8 Bird-hide

5.9. Areas just outside the 50km speed restriction zone

6 Plant species of Ballyvaughan

6.1. Management for species of particular interest

6.1.1 Ballyvaughan Seedling, Heritage Apple Trees.

6.1.2 Narrow-leaved Bitter cress (Cardamine impatiens)

6.1.3. Buddleia

6.1.4. Sargassum muticum

6.1.5. Winter Heliotrope (Petasites fragrans)

6.1.6. Japanese Knotweed.

6.1.7 Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)

6.2 Bryophytes in Ballyvaughan

7. Animal species of Ballyvaughan

7.1. Bees and Butterflies

7.2. Moths

7.3. Bats and Mammals

7.4. Bird species of Ballyvaughan

7.5. Other species

7.6. Intertidal species

8. Management suggestions

Gardens as local features

Herbicide usage

Improving Ballyvaughan’s score for Wildlife and Natural Amenities


Ballyvaughan – tetrads and monads used in recording moths and birds

Moths recorded in M20I and M20J by Moths Ireland 2011-2013

Bird species recorded by Stephen Ward for Birdtrack between October 2013 and April 2014....... 73 Bird species recorded at Ballyvaughan quays Tetrad IM20J

Bird species recorded in Ballyvaughan tetrad IM20I October 2013-October 2014


List of figures Figure 1: Map of Ballyvaughan

Figure 2: Flower beds and amenity grassland outside Ballyvaughan Lodge B&B.

Figure 3: Stone wall near the School supporting ferns, mosses and stonecrops

Figure 4: Rue-leaved or 3-fingered saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites.

Figure 5: Stone crop and stiff sand-grass Catapodium marinum

Figure 6: Buildings and artificial surfaces in Ballyvaughan

Figure 7: Shingle and gravel bank habitat overlying the foundations of Ballyvaughan castle............. 16 Figure 8: Man-made stone construction in the intertidal zone

Figure 9: Lower Saltmarsh, with right of way along shore.

Figure 10: Donkeys grazing the upper saltmarsh in Ballyvaughan Bay; sea asters Aster tripolium flowering in the foreground

Figure 11: Area of recolonising limestone rubble to the rear of the Ballyvaughan Coast Hotel 2014. 20 Figure 12: Grass clippings near Ballyvaughan cottages

Figure 13: Marsh area near Ballyvaughan Bridge on the coast road.

Figure 14: Improved agricultural grassland near Fair Green opposite O’Loclainn’s

Figure 15: Area of amenity grassland opposite Monks Ballyvaughan 2014

Figure 16: Dry calcareous grassland outside Ballyvaughan Holiday Cottages

Figure 17: Church grounds with dry calcareous grassland

Figure 18: Mown orchid in verge grassland

Figure 19: Verge with mown orchids and herbicide spray-zone

Figure 20: Mown orchid

Figure 21: Field at junction of N67 and Green Road; dry calcareous grassland with cowslips and oxeye daisies

Figure 22: Limestone pavement covered by dense bracken behind Ballyvaughan Coast Hotel 2014. 30 Figure 23 Scattered trees and shrubs in grassland at Dolmen Cottages

Figure 24: Hedgerow on School Road

Figure 25: Treelines in amenity grassland on St Joseph's Road

Figure 26: Treeline of hawthorn trees along field wall

Figure 27: The old graveyard on Green Road

Figure 28: Scrub with gorse at the Bird-hide

Figure 29: Flower bed overgrown with non-native shrubs

Figure 30: Limestone pavement in Ballyvaughan Bay - part of the mixed substrata shore habitat..... 38 Figure 31: Climin of harvested Knotted Wrack at Sea Gate

Figure 32: Bare rocks in the intertidal zone after harvesting of Knotted Wrack Ascophyllum nodosum.

Figure 33: Ragged robin flowering in the grounds of the Burren Court Hotel

Figure 34: Grassland with shrubs and Aspen at the Burren Coast Hotel

Figure 35: The bird-hide viewed from the seaward side. Note the field scabious Knautia arvensis flowering in the foreground

Figure 36: Wood anemones and lesser celandine on the Wood Loop

Figure 37: The Rine with saltmarsh

Figure 38: Incipient holly scrub as seen from the green road down to the Rine

Figure 39: Ballyvaughan Seedling apple tree (Picture Irish Seed Savers Association)

Figure 40: Narrow-leaved bitter-cress sign

Figure 41: Large Buddleia bush on Saltmarsh near bridge

Figure 42: Buddleia bushes self-seeded into bridge wall

Figure 43: Invasive seaweed Sargassum muticum (in the centre between brown Fucus serratus and green Ulva sp.)

Figure 44: Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) growing just outside Ballyvaughan on the N67........... 51 Figure 45: Great Hairy Screw-moss (Syntrichia ruralis) growing with stonecrop in gravel near Fair Green

Figure 46: The Heath Snail near the Recycling centre Ballyvaughan

Figure 47: An example of species rich turf in garden

Figure 48: Suitable lime tolerant planting at the Tea Rooms


List of tables Table 1: Summary of habitat types found in Ballyvaughan 2014

Table 2: Plant species found in Ballyvaughan 2014

Table 3: Bryophytes recorded in Ballyvaughan 2014

Table 4: Bees recorded in Ballyvaughan 2014

Table 5: Butterfly species recorded in Ballyvaughan 2014 and larval food plants

Table 6: Mammal species recorded in Ballyvaughan 2014

Table 7: Bird species recorded in Ballyvaughan October 2013-October 2014

Table 8: Intertidal species recorded in Ballyvaughan littoral zone 2014

Table 9: Nectar sources for adult butterflies

Table 10: Trees and shrubs suitable for insertion into planting schemes and providing food for birds during winter

Table 11: Moths Ireland dataset in tetrads M20I and M20J 2011 onward

Table 12: Bird species recorded by Stephen Ward for Birdtrack October 2013-October 2014........... 73 1 Introduction Wildlife and Natural Amenities is one of the categories judged in the Tidy Towns Competition. A wildlife survey provides the base-line information on species present, identifying the habitats in the village and providing observations on their current management. This will inform future management allowing for improvement in this category in the Tidy Towns Competition.

Ballyvaughan has received 32 marks out of a possible 50 (i.e. only 64%) in the last 2 years (2012,

2013) for Wildlife and Natural Amenities in the Tidy Towns Competition. The judges suggested the creation of a Wildlife Trail, to be combined with a Heritage trail, and that the harbour and seashore should be included. The focus of the competition lies within the 50km speed limit zone, although Ballyvaughan also benefits from the areas of European importance (Special Areas of Conservation and a Special Protection Area for Birds – SACs and an SPA) on its outskirts, and the Geopark Heritage Trail.

The Wildlife Survey was commissioned by the Ballyvaughan Community Development Group (BCDG) funded by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark as part of their LIFE project, to take place during

2014. The survey identifies habitats and physical features on an annotated 1:2500 map, habitat descriptions and species lists, including notable species and those which are indicative of the health of the habitat.

Information boards give guidance on several attractive walks which commence within the village.

Arising from this survey, a wildlife walk could be devised linking areas of interest. However the main road carries a lot of traffic, especially in the tourist season, and is not only very narrow but lacks pavements, making it less than ideal for walkers. There are some vantage points within the village where people can observe wildlife safely.

In 2013, the judge commented “Besides the Burren the sea is a very important natural amenity …” and suggested that the harbour and seashore be incorporated in future.

2 Key objectives

1) To create a Map of Habitats within the Ballyvaughan 50km speed restriction zone.

2) To list species present in the village, including birds, butterflies, bees and mammals, and plants of interest.

3) To provide a photographic record of those habitats.

4) To provide a management plan for habitats present in the village, and advice on how to improve the score for Wildlife and Natural Amenities under the Tidy Towns Competition.

3 Methodology

3.1 Scope of the survey The area eligible for the Tidy Towns Competition is normally that within the 50 km/hour speed limit (TT Handbook). The survey focused on that area but was extended beyond where the verges are managed and it is possible to walk safely. Whilst areas in the village under private management, namely gardens and fields, were not surveyed, occasionally good examples are mentioned.

3.2 Survey methods A desk study and a field survey were both carried out to provide the data in this report. The desk study included a literature review concerning the SACs and surrounding areas of interest to identify species which may also be present in the village. The County Clare Recorders for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) drew attention to a rare plant, found only in Ballyvaughan, which was then carefully searched for. Ordnance Survey maps and aerial photographs were also consulted.

Suggestions for the field survey method are made in the Tidy Towns Handbook 2010 (page 37). The Wildlife Survey Habitat Map is based on Phase 1 Habitat Surveying as outlined in ‘A handbook for Phase 1 habitat survey – a technique for environmental audit’, (NCC 1990), in particular section 4, Urban Surveys, and also ‘Best practise guidance for habitat survey and mapping’ (Smith et al. 2011).

Species lists were used to identify habitats present, (rather than full releves in 5 quadrats per habitat). An initial walk was the first step and a map was drawn up as areas were identified. These were revisited several times during the year as vernal (spring) species died back and were replaced with summer vegetation. Species lists include those which are notable and those which are indicative of the quality of the habitat. Habitats are identified using the codes in ‘A guide to habitats in Ireland’, (Fossitt 2000), and species are named according to Webb’s Irish Flora (2012).

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