Nature Notes 15 June 2021

Nature Notes 15 June 2021

Observations from staff, volunteers 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.

Umbra Nature Reserve

Lots of beautiful orchids, including pyramidal and northern marsh orchid, are now flowering at the Umbra Nature Reserve.

This species-rich dune grassland on the north coast is also a hotspot for rare moths, including the scarce crimson and gold, a beautiful micro-moth with a distinctive rhubarb and custard colouration, and the small eggar, whose caterpillars make enormous, but harmless webs in blackthorn and hawthorn for shelter. 

Bog Meadows

We've been moth trapping regularly at  Bog Meadows to help get an idea of the species diversity in the area over the year. We also show off our marvellous moth finds to community and school groups to promote appreciation of these often overlooked pollinators.

Here's some of the beauties we have recently found: spectacle, brimstone, large elephant hawk-moth, peppered moth and green carpet.


We've been blocking drains and inserting dams at Inishargy Bog on the Ards Peninsula, to help hold back the water and re-wet the bog, so that it's in better condition for the specially adapted plants and animals that thrive here. 

Dam construction at Inishargy

Dam construction at Inishargy 


Wood cranesbill (Geranium sylvaticum) seedlings, translocated from one suitable part of Glenarm to another, are now blooming, helping to increase the range of this beautiful but rare plant.

Wood cranesbill is only found at a select number of locations in Northern Ireland, all within the Glens of Antrim, including our Glenarm and Feystown nature reserves.

Although it may look similar to some cultivated garden geraniums, you are unlikely to find this rare plant growing in your garden.