Meeting of Wednesday 16 October 2019
Speaker, Ms Amy Burns, RSPB
Amy is the RSPB’s Estate Manager for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. She heads up a team of seven who collectively manage the bird life on 43 of Lough Erne’s 154 islands along with 210 hectares of wetland and 400 hectares of forest. Essentially the work is about habitat management and maintaining a variety of environments for the particular needs of particular birds. Lapwings, also known as Plovers and Peewits, thrive in hay meadows which these days are artificially created by strimming. Curlews need longer grass in which to nest and hide their chicks and wetland in which to forage. Sadly, their numbers are in steep decline due to habitat loss. The RSPB owns a herd of Highland Cattle which it moves from island to island to graze and keep the vegetation short. Amy showed slides and played recordings of the calls of several species monitored by the RSPB including Snipe, Redshank, terns and gulls. RSPB in Fermanagh also manages 600 hectares on Cuilcagh Mountain, home to Red Grouse, Skylarks and a few Hen Harriers. Amy’s work brings her into daily contact with all sorts of wildlife including huge array of butterflies and moths. Her talk prompted many questions and much interest, for which she was warmly thanked by Harman Scott.