About 80 of the islands in Lough Neagh are managed as part of the Lough Neagh National Nature Reserve. Populations of breeding birds are monitored every year. On the islands as a whole, about 500 pairs of mallard, 300 tufted duck, 500 great-crested grebes, 30,000 black-headed gulls, 150 common terns and 60 mute swans nest.
Islands are essential to provide secure nesting sites for many species of wetland birds as they provide safety and seclusion from predators such as foxes, rats and mink and disturbance from people and dogs. Much of the management work on the islands is carried out in the winter. Scrub is cleared to provide the best habitats for breeding birds such as gulls, ducks and terns.
Competition for nest sites is intense on some of the larger islands that have black-headed gull colonies. Ducks and terns often choose to nest amongst these dense gull colonies as they gain additional protection from predators too wary to enter the noisy colony.
None. Contact the Site manager before visiting any of the islands.
Tel: 028 3885 3950