New TV series to put the focus on city’s wildlife

Bird expert John Lusby: guide to Galway wildlife.

Galway’s wildest, yet most secretive, inhabitants – the animals that live here – are to be the stars of a new television series being transmitted next month.

Starting on Sunday, May 8 on RTÉ 1 at 6.30pm, ‘Wild Cities’ is a fascinating four-part series set on the streets of Galway, Dublin, Cork and Belfast, focusing on each city’s wildlife.

“This is a really exciting new series for RTÉ. We wanted to track down the wild animals that have adapted to living alongside humans, but few of us notice.

“There are so many intriguing stories to tell. These are clever, tenacious, opportunistic animals, such as the urban fox, pigeon and the Herring Gull, who – love them or hate them – have found a niche in our most densely populated places,” said a spokesperson for Crossing the Line Films, the producers of the series.

The Galway episode goes out first.

Local bird expert, John Lusby, acts as guide to the wildlife of Galway City, from adorable cygnets taking to the water for the first time to stunning slow motion footage of the Lesser Horseshoe bats of Menlo Castle, otters in the city’s canals, and sleeping Barn Owl chicks.

John Lusby will show viewers the wildlife and wild places hidden in plain sight on the streets and surrounds of Galway City. There are creatures to meet and marvel at around every corner.

Featuring the otters who have made Galway’s canals their home, Salmon battling their way upstream at the city’s iconic weir, starlings coming to roost above the oblivious heads of passers by in Eyre Square and hungry Barn Owl chicks at feeding time, this promises to be an hour of enchanting and eye-opening natural history television.

Zoologist Rob Gandola conducts the journey of discovery through a Dublin rarely seen, in the episode of May 15, to witness the Fallow deer rut in Phoenix Park; Irish mountain hares thriving in a Dublin Airport car park; frogs and foxes in back gardens across the city; and Herring Gulls raising their chicks on the rooftop of Easons on O’Connell St.

In Cork, in the episode of May 22, Environmental scientist Tara Shine visits a winter roost of Pied Wagtails on Grand Parade; looks for wildlife among the dead in a city cemetery; and finds Grey Herons begging for scraps outside the English Market and exotic terrapins turning up in Cork’s wild waterways.

Biologist Simon Watt takes a boat journey around Belfast Harbour (May 29) to see basking seals; enjoys Painted Lady Butterflies on a Belfast waste ground and a stunning Kingfisher fishing at the back of an industrial estate.