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14 July 2013

Owl paradise

We saw a small slice of owl paradise in an earlier post HERE, where a landowner, sympathetic to wildlife, has allowed some of his meadows near Newmarket to develop, resulting in an abundance of insect, wildflowers and small mammals. Kestrel, Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl all nest within a kilometre of these meadows.

Below, another slice of owl paradise can be seen. This site is in Co. Kerry, and the large fields, normally given over to grazing and silage, were bought by a wealthy landowner who has (for reasons unknown) not cut or grazed the grass in about 5 years. The result is a truly enormous area of habitat, perhaps 1.2km by 800m, unaffected by grazing, fertilizers, pesticides or mowing and it has become a wildlife paradise as a result.

Grassland, Co. Kerry (11th July 2013 (M.O'Clery).

During recent owl survey work, this area was checked and on both occasions, both Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl could be watched hunting over the grassland at dusk. One of the few places and occasions in Ireland where it is possible to see both species simultaneously.