Monday, June 6, 2011

K70 and K73

First off, Congratulations to the 40,000+ women who ran in todays annual Women's mini marathon in Dublin, it's the biggest Women's event in the world and raised over €14 million for charites last year.
Girls rule.
But then, down at the Kilcoole Colony, there are some boys doing some work which totally rules too.

Since the beginning of May, Niall, Jason and Cole have been working literally round the clock to do everything in their power to protect the Little Tern nests and eggs. Wardening, recording nests/ eggs/ chicks, preventing predation, talking to the public, putting up and maintaining the fencing around the colony. And most importantly updating the Colony News board which every passer by stops to read.

Colony update 3rd June 2011

Whilst scanning the shingle, I noticed a Tern which looked like it was incubating rather than just sitting resting. There was no Nest number nearby, which meant this was a possible new nest which needed to be recorded. I watched it for a while and pointed it out to Jason. He agreed it was worth a walk across the shingle to check out. Thumbs up meant that it was indeed a nest. Result.

Jason marked out a stone 'K70' and recorded that there were 2 eggs in the nest.

Niall put metal rings around the legs of the first 4 chicks, weighed them and measured their wing span.

Cole, getting the area ready for Bloom.
I noticed another couple of Terns looking parental, watched them for a while then pointed them out to Niall, he agreed they looked like they were new nest candidates, but decided the Terns had been disturbed enough for the day and he'd go over and check them the next day.
The next day he texted to say it was a new nest with one egg. Nest K73 (which meant they'd also found another 2 nests).

On Saturday, despite waking up to a warm, sunny, still day in Drimnagh, the type of day where you could drop a feather and watch it fall in a straight line down to the ground, when I arrived in Kilcoole, the gusts of wind there were so strong I was seeing poodles being swept up from the ground and flung across the sky yelping. 
I don't know how the guys still have skin left on their faces, the wind in Kilcoole is incessant. Once home after the days volunteering, my face was on fire, and yes mum, I had put sunblock on.
Again, link to the Kilcoole Little Tern colony blog is http://littleternconservation.blogspot.com/

Ringed Plover, in training for the mini marathon.
Little Tern mobbing an Oystercatcher. Oystercatchers have been known to eat Terns eggs, these Oystercatchers have shown no interest in the eggs however, which is why they've been allowed to stay in the colony, but the Tern's instinct is still to mob them when they're unsettled.