In recent weeks there has been an increasingly higher visible presence of rats in Marlay Park. As a regular visitor to the park I would usually see the odd rat over the course of the year but during the past few visits there have been sightings of groups of rats along pathways and walking routes.
Today I saw a rat chasing a moor hen in the shallow waters of the park's pond. Last year a nest of little grebes remained untouched by predators as it was positioned in the middle of the pond; despite possible disruption to the nest due to nearby works during the build up the concerts, it remained undamaged throughout the breeding season.
With the upsurge in rat numbers, possibly helped by a larger than normal amount of fast food during the summer months, and only showing now due to the harsh winter, a question mark remains over the next breeding season for some birds in the park although perhaps it explains the higher numbers of herons and a few buzzards allegedly sighted today!
Perhaps the most bizarre thing was the fishing line with hook containing a small piece of ham hanging amongst tree branches nearby
On a sadder note the park's nice stone bridge dividing the two large ponds was damaged in recent weeks after the high winds knocked down a nearby tree.
Photos & videos: © Brendan Donnelly Photography