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Loch Gaineamháin (White Sand Lake) is located about 1 kilometre from the church in Cromane to your left as you're driving or walking towards Dooks and is home to many interesting species of wildlife.
The Mute Swan is a fairly common sight on Loch Gaineamháin. This type is the largest bird in Ireland being about 12 kilograms in weight. They are very powerful flyers and their wings make a very distinctive noise.
Their diet consists of beetles, tadpoles and water weeds and they feed by dipping and by 'up-ending' in a manner similar to ducks to reach deeper vegetation. To ward off any threats they make flat hissing sounds.
Their very untidy nests, made from reed stems and plant debris, are usually located at the western side of Loch Gaineamháin and the eggs are incubated for up to 35 days. Almost immediately after birth the cygnets can be seen sitting snugly on their proud parents backs gliding serenely around the waters of the lake.
It is generally believed that the Mute Swan was introduced to Ireland by the Normans and were given as gifts to dignitaries. Another school of thought about the origin of this swan is that they were brought into the country by English landlords to adorn their private lakes and ponds.
Regardless of how they were introduced their elegance and beauty makes them a very welcome sight and a wonderful asset to Loch Gaineamháin.
Plants to watch out for in the boglands and by the shores of Loch Gaineamháin are the Water Lobelia, Quillwort, Black Bog Rush, Slender Rush, Yellow Bartsia, Bog Asphodel, Yellow Century, Bog Myrtle and many orchids.
The Natterjack Toad may be sighted around the lake and some have been known to pay visits to houses in the locality, an exercise which involves crossing the road. Spawning occurs between April and July and the nighttime croaking of the male can be heard at great distances.
|Author: Des Condon © 2006 for Cromane Community Council E&OE||
Copyright Cromane CC 2006©