nightfly's picture

2 hens lost but what killed them?

Observed: 21st December 2005 By: nightflynightfly is knowledgeable about Fishnightfly’s earned reputation in Fishnightfly’s earned reputation in Fishnightfly’s earned reputation in Fish
spawn 045
spawn 041
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No interactions present.

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Wildlife Ranger's picture

Salmon Predation

Its a bit strange loosing a face - where the bodies incised -opened when found ? There does nt seem to be any lacerations other than the cavity incision which implies a human - Is it feasible a seal could be hunting - unlikely near a river ( and more likely have been scoffed completely than left ????) Adult salmon may be killed by otters during the spawning period but it is suggested that, most are males

I dont think it could be the Bushmills Bear or the fella that goes by the name of John West :-). A real shame though

Best Wishes

WLR

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nightfly's picture

Hi Wildlife Ranger, Sorry, I

Hi Wildlife Ranger,

Sorry, I should have given a bit more info. My brother had been watching these salmon almost daily for fear of them being taken by people at night. He had counted 13. He just wanted them to be safe until they got spawned.

Then he went up the river that particular day to see if they were still there and fit and well and these 2 were lying dead on the river bed.

He took them from the water, one had part of its head missing, in the water. The other one showed no damage. It was my brother who cut that fish open using a pen knife. He then photographed the 2 casualties and the exposed load of eggs of 1 fish on the river side.

This was 2 miles up a small shallow spate river which is only 12 foot wide. A seal could not access this part of this very small and shallow river.

Yes it would be strange for an otter to kill even 1 fish and eat so little, never mind kill 2 and eat virtually nothing. Otters are present, but they are not as common as people in the area who target salmon. I dont think it was a case of poisoning as there were no other dead fish and the river contains many brown trout, escapee rainbow trout and sea trout.

Who is the Bushmills bear and John West?

Myself and my brother have come across partially eaten salmon carcasses before in rivers and on the beach (in the latter case, usually post spawning time) but this was odd in that 2 almost intact fish were found beside each other, both female.

Yes it was an awful shame.

Cathal.

Wildlife Ranger's picture

Salmon Predation

Hi Cathal - Many years ago !!! I had a summer job on the Bush Electro fishing for the DoE good times. Sorry to hear that the fish where spoilt as they are important for the future Rivers etc It would be interesting to hear if you found the cause

Are you far from Rathlin or do you venture that far ??? - Great Spot !!

Best Wishes

WLR

Whats Happening with Nature ??? Visit the Nature Blog

http://florafaunauk.blogspot.co.uk/

www.ukwildlife.net

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nightfly's picture

I take it the 'Bear' was a

I take it the 'Bear' was a poacher then????

Did you do any work in the Glens, I have worked with a number of people who are employed at the salmon station, some of these small rivers here in the Glens have availed of the hatchery facilities in Bushmills in the last couple of decades. A very helpful bunch over there.

I only got to Rathlin twice in 2011. That is a place to find wildlife you dont usually see on the mainland. Its always interesting. I'll probably make a trip there in April or May. Good place for moths that are v rarely met on the mainland.

I am only 16 miles from Ballycastle and its just another 6 miles or so by sea.

Cheers,

Cathal.

pirayaguara's picture

Do you have mink on your side

Do you have mink on your side of the water?

nightfly's picture

Hi Pirayaguara,There are

Hi Pirayaguara,

There are certainly mink in Ireland, no doubt about that. I have encountered them dead on the road in other parts of Ireland, a lot further south, and I have seen them live, usually swimming in lakes, in Donegal and Mayo.

I only visit these other counties very occasionally and it isnt uncommon to see mink there even if only there for a day or 2.

I have never seen a mink in my own county here in the extreme NE, I dont know anyone who has seen a mink here either. I do not believe they are here, but its probably only a matter of time to they colonise the entire island.

Im not saying they havent already colonised inland parts of this county to the SW of my area, but I havent seen or heard of any evidence of mink this side of the watershed as yet.

Cathal.

pirayaguara's picture

Hi CathalJusat a thought as

Hi Cathal

Just a thought as they have a nasty habit of killing things and just leaving them

nightfly's picture

Oh yes, a very helpful

Oh yes, a very helpful invader indeed!

Then again, it didnt come of its own accord either, it required the assistance of another mammal to get here!

Cheers.

Cathal.

Wildlife Ranger's picture

Mink

Heres a Mink Link Cathal . There is evidence that Mink have been in that proximity
Mink farming was banned in Northern Ireland in 2003. There are six mink farms still operating in Republic of Ireland .

http://www.habitas.org.uk/invasive/species.asp?item=5131

Mink are a possibility there is a contact also on the link

HTH

WLR

Whats Happening with Nature ??? Visit the Nature Blog

http://florafaunauk.blogspot.co.uk/

www.ukwildlife.net

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http://www.ebid.net/uk/stores/medic1/Natural-History

nightfly's picture

Hi Wildlife Ranger, I had a

Hi Wildlife Ranger,

I had a look at that distribution map for mink in N Ireland. I see there are 3 blue dots for mink observations in the extreme NE of county Antrim, post 1986. The upper one of these dots would be positioned pretty much exactly in Glenariff which is where these 2 salmon were found. The 2 other dots below that one would be on the Antrim Plateau, in an area that I frequent, particularly the small bodies of water that are there, otters are there and are met occasionally.

I find these observations or reports highly questionable. I must try to find out more backround to them from habitas. I could be wrong, just because I havent seen them doesnt mean they arent there or havent been there, but if they did make it over this side of the watershed (the plateau provides a geographical barrier which slows the extension of range of various species, grey squirrel being the other good example) it would be likely that they would have increased in no. as they have done so readily in other areas they have colonised.

The thing is, I spend an awful lot of time by the bodies of water that are present in the Glens, and on the plateau and I know many others who do likewise. I know of no mink sightings in the area yet.

But I am open to possibility of their presence and will be keeping an ear to the ground so to speak, will actively seek accounts of mink occurance in the area within the circle of naturalists, farmers and anglers that I have contact with. To date I have heard no suggestion of mink in the area between Carnlough in the south and Cushendun in the north, the plateau to the west aand the sea to the east forming the physical limits to the specific region I am on about.

Forgive me if this opinion seems bold or in defiance of the 'evidence', but I would have expected to have seen or heard of mink presence by now????????

They aint far away, nor is the grey squirrel. The hills have slowed the expansion of the latter in this direction very nicely til now. The worrying thing is however, grey squirrels are becoming quite common in the Glenarm area to the south and they will colonise my area in time by spreading northwards up the coast. I wonder how the reds will suffer and how quickly the grey will spread?!?!?? I fear it will happen quite suddenly and in the next few years.

Cheers,

Cathal.

Wildlife Ranger's picture

Minks perhaps Not ?

Just a suggestion . Your account is very well presented Cathal, and very valuable work and observations for the NW. Mink are quite elusive and and can be hard to spot They ar no longer bred in NI but can be prolific when they escape to the wild. Keep us posted if you have nay sitings smallwater bodies rivenes and riparian habitas are ideal for them

Best Wishes

WLR

Whats Happening with Nature ??? Visit the Nature Blog

http://florafaunauk.blogspot.co.uk/

www.ukwildlife.net

Supporting FEET Conservation work & Biodiversity Recording

http://www.ebid.net/uk/stores/medic1/Natural-History

nightfly's picture

Wildlife Ranger, I bet Ive

Wildlife Ranger,

I bet Ive cursed myself with the above 'no mink here' discourse! I'll probably see one tomorrow.

I suppose when I go off for a short stay in other areas, especially in Donegal and Mayo, and I observe mink there, I kind of think, well they mustnt be at home because if theyre so readily observible in other areas then the chances of not seeing them at home(if they were there) would be very slim. I spend most of my spare time fishing and I havent met one here yet.

Its only a matter of time. Once established, theyll be here for good. One question, do they affect resident otter poulations?

Cathal.

pirayaguara's picture

They will move overland

They will move overland during cold spells and search for new sites so it coulod have been one moving through.

The good news is that otters seem to deter mink rather than the other way round

nightfly's picture

Thanks for this info

Thanks for this info Pirayaguara,

Maybe thats one of the reasons mink havent got a foothold here yet? The otter population here seems to be going from strength to strength. Long may it last. Unfortunately I thibk the advancement of the grey squirrel is inevitable. In fact one or 2 have been spotted in the lasty decade but none have been reprted to habitas as yet because there is a nice clear gap on the distribution map around where I live but they have aleady poked their noses in and they will most probably 'bloom' in time. Is there anywhere where the reds havent suffered by the expansion of the grey, basically, are the reds doomed to decline when the grey increases?

Cheers,

Thanks again,

Cathal.

pirayaguara's picture

Sadly you are probably right

Sadly you are probably right regarding the greys - I was horrified to see them in the Lake District and in an Edinburgh park last year and I understand they are on the move in Italy