A couple of days ago, a daring rescue was made at the National Trust’s Glastry Nature Reserve, near Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula. A male long-eared owl had got its wing tangled in some discarded fishing line that was hanging in a tree overlooking one of the ponds. Luckily, the RSPB were called and 4 members of the Bangor RSPB group came to the rescue. With a bit of effort, they managed to reach the owl and carefully disentangle it from the line.
Long-eared owls are the most common owls in Ireland but their shy behaviour makes them very difficult to see. They feed on a variety of small mammals and birds. I have also watched one repeatedly swooping down and catching bats as they left a roost at Castleward.
Although this owl didn’t appear to be injured, it was exhausted and quite weak so it was decided that the best thing would be to take the owl into care for a few days, until it regained its strength and could be released back into the wild.
A big thanks to James, Michael, Robert and Fulton for the successful rescue.
This National Trust site is open to the public and is a short but interesting walk. The series of ponds are what is left of old pits where clay was extracted to supply a brickworks. In its heyday, Glastry Brick Works was capable of making up to 20,000 bricks in one day. Although the Brickworks closed in 1872, clay continued to be dug from here and transported to other brickworks in Belfast.
In 1975, The National Trust acquired the site from the Glastry Brick Company Ltd. It has been planted with trees and allowed to return to nature and is popular with locals who come to walk, fish or enjoy the birds and other wildlife.
We are very grateful that so many members of the local community keep an eye out for the wildlife and help to look after this wonderful place.