Nature Notes 04 Aug 2020

Observations from staff and members on our Nature Reserves this week.

Nature reserves may look completely wild, but our 19 reserves across Northern Ireland are actually carefully managed by a dedicated team. We protect, restore and create a mix of habitats where wildlife can thrive.

Isle Namafin

Fantastic day setting up habitat boxes and camera traps on our nature reserve in Lough Erne last week. Highlights included seeing the Ivy broomrape in flower - a native, parasitic plant found on only six sites in NI.

The island is home to beautiful old oaks and we came across this yellow brain fungus - a sign of a witches curse! Look at the view out from the island onto Lough Erne ~ Katy & Michael

Oak, Namafin July 2020

Oak, Namafin July 2020

Yellow brain fungus, Namafin July 2020

Yellow brain fungus, Namafin July 2020

View from Namafin, July 2020

View from Namafin, July 2020

Glenarm Nature Reserve

Butterflies - seven species seen on the wing. Silver-washed fritillary have now increased in number to a minimum of 12-15 with a similar number of peacock present. Green-veined white and ringlet were also plentiful together with a smaller number of meadow brown and speckled wood. Finally, a single small tortoiseshell was seen.

Micro moths - a sighting of the most interest to me was a single Pyrausta Purpuralis (common purple and gold).

Dragonflies - a minimum of three common hawker were on the wing.

Bumblebees - Garden bumblebee and common carder bee were present.

Finally, an observation. I had anticipated seeing several species of shield bug. From memory, four species were seen within a few minutes of arrival last year. Despite beating off vegetation, I couldn't find a single specimen. It reinforces my view that, for whatever reason, shield bugs appear to be having a poor season.

~ Adrian Kernohan, Ulster Wildlife Member

Common purple and gold, Pyrausta Purpuralis (c) Adrian Keronhan

Common purple and gold, Pyrausta Purpuralis (c) Adrian Keronhan