INIS surveyors have been very privileged to observe adult Short-eared owls in the Mullaghareirk’s over the last two consecutive breeding seasons. All our sightings have involved adult Short-eared owls during daylight hours in July over a variety of habitats including rough grassland, bog and clear fell areas with commercial plantations.Short-eared Owls are scarce winter visitors to Ireland mainly to the east and south of the country and favour uplands and coastlines. They are a rare breeding bird species and have been found sporadically throughout the uplands in Ireland. They are the only owl species in Ireland that can be seen hunting during the day (diurnal) and have very similar plumage to Long-eared owls but have yellow eyes and short ear tufts.

Our observations from the Mullaghareirk’s suggest that there are Short-eared owls breeding in this SPA area. We are currently assisting BirdWatch Ireland in the search for these breeding Short eared Owl nest sites.