What with the unprecedented snowfall Aghatirourke recieved during March, completing management on the reserve was certainly a struggle this year. Strimming of rank grass and heather has been undertaken for the last 3 years on specified plots on Aghatirourke to create/enhance suitable breeding areas for Golden plover.Monitoring of golden plover is undertaken by Brad (Area manager) and Fionnbarr (asisstant warden). This years survey turned up no breeding golden plover on the reserve. However, the good news is that the Skylark population appears to have recovered since the large fire that swept through the reserve in April 2007. The stream that cuts through the reserve is supporting 2 pairs of breeding Dippers this year. There has also been 5 pairs of breeding Snipe recorded and the area of birch woodland has seen 2 pairs of Spotted Flycatchers and breeding Woodcock. Great news!
The latest news from Aghatirourke!
This years strimming has been successfully completed without too much interference from the weather this year. The Golden Plover Project aims to create/enhance breeding areas for golden plover by strimming rank grass and heather to create a short sward height. This management is has been undertaken for the last 4 years by a mixture of staff and volunteers. The birds were spotted when this years plots were being marked out and we hope that they will successfully breed this year on the managed areas.
There have been other sightings on Aghatirourke this month including the usual skylarks and meadow pipits, but the male hen harrier was spotted flying over the view point and red grouse have been seen on the reserve. We failed to spot the Sand Martins returning to the reserve on leaving the mountain this month but they have been spotted on Lower Lough Erne.
The breeding season is just about here and it's a fantastic time to take a walk on the reserve and watch the meadow pipits parachuting display flights and the stamina of the skylarks as they display high above your your head. You may also be lucky enough to spot the hen harriers as they hunt over the bog or chase a grouse through the heather! If you have the time to explore the reserve we would love to hear about your bird sightings. You can post them on the blog or give us a call on the reserve number available from HQ in Belfast.