Mount Stewart spring wildlife

Bluebells in the woodland

Spring is a unique time at Mount Stewart as the gardens and woodland come alive with new life.

Here's what spring brings to Mount Stewart over the next few months:

  • Carpets of woodland flowers such as primrose, bluebell and wild garlic
  • Breeding swallows
  • Displaying buzzards
  • Badgers
  • Singing blackcap and chiffchaff
  • Great spotted woodpecker drumming against the trees

Red Squirrels

The red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, is one of our most popular and well-loved mammals. Mount Stewart is one of the best places in Northern Ireland to spot them.
 
While we can't guarantee a sighting, you're most likely to encounter them early in the morning or late afternoon, behind the house and to the north of the lake.
 
Threats
 
The red squirrel was once abundant in Ireland but has drastically reduced in numbers and distribution over the last 50 years. Habitat loss and fragmentation contributed to its decline but the biggest threat is the grey squirrel.
 
The grey squirrel came from North America. It was introduced to Ireland from England to Castle Forbes, County Longford in 1911. Since then, grey squirrels spread and are now established throughout Ireland. Grey squirrels are bigger than native red squirrels. They compete for the same food and habitat, and can spread disease.
 
Protecting the red squirrel
 
We must remain vigilant in order to protect the long-term future of our red squirrel population. The red squirrel is protected by law and is a priority species for special protection in Northern Ireland. The National Trust is an active member of the Northern Ireland Red Squirrel Forum and Mount Stewart is a Red Squirrel Sanctuary.