• Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

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RSPB NI Launches New Nature Reserve Montiaghs Moss, a haven for wildlife

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This summer, RSPB NI invites you to come along with friends, family, and fellow nature lovers to experience the new boardwalk at Montiaghs Moss [DR6] [MF7] nature reserve near Lough Neagh.

Montiaghs Moss is a lowland peatland in County Antrim, consisting of a raised bog that provides a mosaic of peat ramparts, trenches, pools and drains interspersed with grassland, trees and hedgerows. Thanks to the conservation work, the site has become a stronghold for notable species including the Marsh Fritillary butterflies, Irish Damselflies, large Red Damselflies, Green Hairstreak butterflies, Red-tipped Clearwing moths, Kestrels[CC8] , and Cuckoos.

Owned by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Montiaghs Moss nature reserve is managed by RSPB NI. Funding to transform the site, came from the Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity (CABB) project, which was supported[GM9] [MF10]  by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). This project was led by RSPB NI in partnership with RSPB Scotland, Birdwatch Ireland, Butterfly Conservation, Moors for the Future and NI Water.

Green Hairstreak, copyright David Hutton, from the surfbirds galleries

The Marsh Fritillary butterfly is one of the site’s most important species. RSPB NI worked closely with Butterfly Conservation to revive Montiaghs Moss, which was designated a Natura 2000 site. The two organisations have carried out major work on the site to help the species thrive. Work included scrub removal, rush cutting, use of cattle and ponies for grazing and the introduction of Hebridean sheep.

Cathryn Cochrane, Lough Neagh Warden, RSPB NI said “The restoration of the site has been successful thanks to the funding received from CABB and the continued support of local farmers, stakeholders, NIEA, and the local community, who have helped to manage the site and protect habitats[GM11]  for the wildlife that call the site home, including the rare and beautiful, orange-patterned Marsh Fritillary which can be spotted flitting among the wildflowers.”

https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/montiaghs-moss/