Nature Notes 19 January 2021

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 of Muck Nature Reserve

We were treated to some fulmars and a very curious seal this week at the Isle of Muck - see footage below.

Isle of Muck is home to the third largest colony of cliff-nesting seabirds in Northern Ireland but brown rats, which are a non-native invasive species, prey on vulnerable seabird eggs and chicks, and, if left unchecked, can become a huge problem. Thankfully, due to our control efforts, there was no rat activity at all this week at Isle of Muck, so we are hopeful the breeding seabirds will have a productive year ~ John McLaughlin, Nature Reserves Officer

Peatlands Park

Not an Ulster Wildlife nature reserve, but one of the many peatland sites we are helping to restore across NI as part of the Collaborative Action for Natura Network (CANN) project. 

Our Nature Skills trainees -  Erin, Ricky and Mark - helped our peatlands team tackle rhododendron this week, despite the relentless rain. Although beautiful, rhododendron is an unwelcome sight on a raised bog. This highly invasive exotic shrub uses chemical warfare and dense shade to suppress all growth around it, effectively killing the bog and the wildlife that relies upon it.  Each plant can also produce millions of seeds ~Trish Fox, Senior Technical Officer

Peatlands Park