The otter is a carnivore and is an opportunistic feeder, its prey includes- eels, salmonids and crayfish. In spring, otters often eat a lot of frogs. Otters can be difficult to see, but you can tell if they are using an area as they mark their territory by leaving ‘highly scent ’spraints or droppings (marking their territory) and by their five toed foot prints. Otters spend most of their time on land on land but are seldom far from water. They can be found along the whole of the river even in the saltwater of the estuary. If an otter has been swimming in salt water they will have then find some freshwater to rinse off and clean their fur..
The mink is a carnivore that is closely related to the otter but it is an invasive species that was introduced to Ireland in the 1950’s as accidental escapees from fur farms. Minks can sometimes be confused with otters, but they are a much smaller animal. Mink can be found along the whole of the Maigue. Mink are a big threat to ground-nesting..
Grey seals and common seals can often be seen in the estuary of the R. Maigues and sometimes further..
If you are by the river at dusk you may see a bat flying very close to the waters surface; this is most likely Daubenton’s Bat. The bat uses its large feet to catch insects like midges and sedge (caddis) flies. It flies with it tail membrane very close to the surface of the water to disturb the insects then it crabs them with its feet. This behaviour is known as..
Atlantic Salmon are the most iconic of the Maigue fish. Salmon spend one more years feeding at sea before returning to spawn in the rivers where they were born. Young salmon grow to juveniles for a year or more before migrating to sea again as smolts. Salmon returning to their home river after two or more years at sea mostly return in spring or early summer and are bigger than salmon that return in mid-summer and autumn; these latter are known as grilse or peel. The majority of salmon returning to the Maigue are spring salmon. Most of the salmon die after spawning but a number may return to the sea (as kelts) in spring and may return to spawn a second or even a third time. Most of these are hen..
Brown trout are Ireland’s only native species of trout. Brown trout live in all catchments in Ireland, provided the water quality is suitable and there are spawning areas. Like salmon, trout require very good water quality. They are present in the main Maigue channel and tributaries but are absent or scarce in much of the Maigue headwaters and in some of the tributaries, probably because of poor water quality there. So called “slob trout”, or brown trout that live in the brackish tidal waters of estuaries, can be found downstream of Adare. Brown trout do not naturally occur in any of the lakes in the catchment because none have feeder streams with suitable spawning habitat for brown trout or salmon. Bleach Lough Anglers stock their lake with Brown trout and with rainbow trout, a non-native..
European eels, like salmon, are migratory fish. Eels were one abundant in the rivers of the Maigue catchment but are less so today. The Civil Survey of the mid 17th century mentions the presence of up to 8 eel weirs on the Camogue between the Maigue confluence and Dunkip. Young eels grow to adults in rivers and lakes and then migrate to spawn in the Sargasso sea off the east coast of the U.S., a distance of over 5,000 km. The European eel is classified as critically endangered in Ireland and other European counties, and is the most threatened native fish..
Lampreys are primitive eel-like fish. Two species are found in the Maigue catchment: brook lamprey and river lamprey. Sea lamprey, which spawns in the lower Shannon and Mulkear river, have not been recorded from the Maigue system. Sea lamprey and river lamprey are parasites of fish to which they attach by means of a sucker-like mouth. Brook lampreys, the smallest of the three lampreys, are..
Northern pike, a large predatory fish, are found in the lakes of the catchment (L. Gur, Dromore Lough, Bleach Lough and L. Nagirra, and there are reports of them occurring in the slower reaches of the R. Camogue. The 17th century Civil Survey refers to a weir at Mainistir where eels and pike were trapped. Pike are regarded as an introduced species, and this is one of the earliest references to their occurrence in..
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