IT HAS been a brilliant year for birds in Fermanagh with the recorded number of wading birds on Lough Erne breaking all previous records.
The RSPB Northern Ireland counted 357 pairs of breeding waders including curlew, lapwing, redshank and snipe making it some of the best figures for bird and wildlife numbers ever recorded at the charity’s reserves across the North.
While other parts of Ireland have experienced a catastrophic drop in the numbers of breeding curlew, Lough Erne’s reserve has seen an increase in the population for the second time in a row to 46 pairs.
It is now believed that Fermanagh holds around ten per cent of the entire Irish breeding population.
From the numbers of breeding waders, 232 pairs are nested on the islands which make up the RSPB’s Lower Lough Erne reserve.
Islands in Lower Lough Erne are also managed for gulls and terns. This year the number of black-headed gulls, a species which has suffered serious declines in recent years, increased from 660 to 906 pairs and the population of Sandwich terns has risen too.
RSPB project officers have been working hard to advise farmers how they can help make homes for birds and wildlife on their land.
Primarily, this involves advising farmers and landowners to remove rush, remove scrub and put in place the correct level of grazing to make suitable homes for these ground-nesting birds which have experienced serious population declines over the past 25 years.
Overall 426 pairs of breeding waders have been counted in designated areas, which represents a staggering 700 per cent increase since the project began in 2011.
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