Nature Notes 3 November 2020

Snow bunting (c) Ronald Surgenor

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

16 sheep were brought to the Isle of Muck for conservation grazing during the winter months.  This reduces the thick grassland vegetation which makes the habitat more favourable for our resident ground-nesting seabirds. Grazing also helps remove any potential cover for non-native invasive species, such as brown rats which prey on vulnerable seabird eggs and chicks.~ John McLaughlin

Slievenacloy Nature Reserve

The team were treated to two snow buntings last week at Slievenacloy. Snow bunting are a regular winter visitor to Slievenacloy from the Arctic regions and are easily recognised with their striking black and white plumage.

There are also some resident snow buntings in the UK, which breed in Scotland. Sadly it's a species in peril, as Scotland's breeding bird populations are threatened by climate change ~ Andrew Crory

Snow bunting

Snow bunting (c) Ronald Surgenor

Fireworks and livestock don’t mix. This was just one of the many clear-ups from Slievenacloy after Halloween. No doubt the cattle and wildlife weren't too impressed ~ Ronald Surgenor 

Fireworks at Slievenacloy

Fireworks at Slievenacloy (c) Ronald Surgenor