Nature Notes 4 May 2021

Bluebell, Straidkilly Nature Reserve

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.

Straidkilly Nature Reserve

It's that time of year for the annual Bluebell photo! Straidkilly Nature Reserve is looking glorious as always. We also spotted an early purple orchid this week. Did you know the early purple orchid can display up to 50 dark purple flowers? These are arranged in a dense, cone-shaped cluster on a tall spike.~ Ryan Bradley, Nature Reserves Officer

Glenarm Nature Reserve

Wood crane's-bill was transplanted by the reserves team into an open area of Glenarm woodland. Wood Crane’s-bill was once one of the rarest plants in Northern Ireland – at one point it was known from only three sites in the Glenarm area, Co. Antrim.

Ulster Wildlife carried out a partnership programme with other organisations (including the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust and National Trust) to expand the range of this important species. Wood crane’s-bill seeds were collected from Feystown nature reserve and these were used to grow on plants for translocation to other sites around the Co. Antrim coast. The plant and the Feystown site are protected so permission to carry out all of the above was required from NIEA.

Recently we obtained permission to extend this species’ habitat further by creating a new restoration area within Glenarm Oakwoods ASSI. The site is a woodland glade and, with a little bit of encouragement, the plant will radiate out to colonise wider areas of suitable habitat.

Thanks to your continued support we are able to help increase the distribution of this rare plant on our nature reserves.  ~ Andrew Crory, Nature Reserves Manager

Bog Meadows Nature Reserve

Our team were busy again at Bog Meadows helping our partners Naomh Gall CLG, by adding more chippings to the paths in their outdoor classroom. We're all looking forward to engaging more young people in outdoor learning and nature based activities in this area. ~ Deborah McLaughlin, Bog Meadows Community Engagement Officer

Bog Meadows Nature Reserve

Bog Meadows Nature Reserve