Nature Notes 12 January 2021

(c) Deborah McLaughlin

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.

Bog Meadows Nature Reserve

Our ESC volunteers have been hedgelaying at Bog Meadows in this beautiful, cold and frosty weather. 

Hedgerows are very important for many reasons.  In the past they were essential for marking ownership boundaries and keeping livestock in fields and as such, they are an important part of our cultural heritage.  Now, it's also recognised that they are of great value to wildlife and the landscape by providing food, shelter and breeding sites and enabling movement and dispersal of wildlife throughout the landscape. Increasingly, they also have a major role to play in preventing soil erosion, reducing air pollution, regulating water supply and reducing flooding.  

This is why it's important to properly manage your hedgerows in a sympathetic manner so that they remain strong and healthy, but eventually all hedgerows need to be rejuvenated and hedgelaying is one of the best and traditional techniques for doing that ~ Deborah McLaughlin, Bog Meadows Community Engagement Officer

Straidkilly Nature Reserve

We got some great trail cam pictures from a camera that we placed at Straidkilly over the Christmas break. Some nice red squirrels, with one eating its lunch on Christmas day, and lots of mice - the animals that seem to get most of the nuts in the feeder. There is also a Pine Marten with a rather startled peanut-filled mouth ~ Ryan Bradley, Nature Reserves Officer

Slievenacloy Nature Reserve

This is the team at Slievenacloy finishing the last of the rush cutting and lifting the cut material off the field. This work helps create a mosaic of habitats at this species-rich grassland which benefits breeding waders and invertebrates ~ Ronald Surgenor, Nature Reserves Officer

Nature Reserves Team, Slievenacloy