This project will focus on three sites on Boa Island on the northern shore of Lower Lough Erne.
The council will work with local farmers and families on land restoration to increase the number of threatened breeding waders. Public engagement events, open days, training events will take place for local people as part of an education programme.
Wednesday 21st April is World Curlew Day 2021, and we are celebrating and raising awareness around this wader species.
Curlews are Europe’s largest wading bird and used to be a common sight on the shores of Lough Erne, however since 1987, the curlew population on the island of Ireland has declined by 89%! (RSPB NI, 2019). Lough Erne hosts approximately 25% of the Northern Ireland population or 20% of the all Ireland population. The Curlew is listed on the red list of vulnerable species and must be protected to ensure its survival into the future.
To address this worrying trend, LELP are currently supporting two projects being delivered by the RSPB and Lough Erne Wildfowlers Council in the restoration of habitat for breeding waders on Lough Erne. These projects are carrying out activities involving habitat management such as scrub clearance and seminatural grassland management to improve breeding and foraging conditions, working with and advising local landowners and farmers, and raising curlew awareness to the general public and what they can do to preserve this species.
Curlews are elusive wading birds, identifiable by their long down turned beak, brown markings, long legs and have a very distinctive call. Curlews nest from mid-April to mid-July and require a month to incubate their eggs, with chicks fledging around 5-6 weeks after hatching.
Like other wading birds, curlews nest on the ground and favour areas where vegetation is typical of damp habitats, making the shores of Lough Erne the ideal habitat for nesting sites.
Curlews eat all sorts of invertebrates picked from the surface or found by probing soft ground. Adults feed on earthworms, leatherjackets, beetles, spiders, caterpillars; chicks generally feed on surface insects.
What can you do to help the curlew?
As part of the overall Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP) heritage initiative, Lough Erne Wildfowlers’ Council (LEWC) have secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to continue and expand their existing project on Boa Island working with local landowners to restore and maintain suitable habitat for a number of wading bird species which have been in decline as breeding species in the area in recent decades.
LEWC wish to commission a contractor to undertake scrub clearance and regrowth control to help to deliver our breeding wading birds conservation project in the Boa Island area of Lough Erne.
Closing date 12pm 11 January 2021
Full tender details can be found here.
On the 1st of May 2020, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership and the Lough Erne Wildfowlers Council will be holding a Snipe Walk at Dusk on Boa Island. We will take stroll and have the opportunity to learn about the Boa Island Breeding Wader Project and the works that are being carried out to help threatened birds.
Lough Erne Wildfowlers’ Council recently received a highly commended certificate from the Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation 2019 for their innovative Boa Island Breeding Wader Project. The Awards recognised the “far-sighted project which has seen them work with all their stakeholders to deliver benefits for all species driven by a love of wildfowling.” The project, which began in 2014, has produced a 480% increase in breeding Snipe territories, with Redshank and Curlew returning to breed in areas they had deserted.
Our project partners Lough Erne Wildfowlers Council spent time showing Joe Mahon the work they are carrying out on Lough Erne by doing litterpick and habitat resoration.
On the 3rd of May 2019, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership and the Lough Erne Wildfowlers Council held a Snipe Walk at Dusk on Boa Island. We got to enjoy a unique twighlight stroll and had the opportunity to learn about the Boa Island Breeding Wader Project and the works that are being carried out to help threatened birds. We also had the the opportunity to see Snipe in their natural habitat and best of all, experience the sounds of Snipe drumming as darkness falls.