Monday, 17 October 2011


'No, you don't need to be an expert, come along to the next iwebs count, we could do with extra volunteers for Dublin Bay' said Helen.
'OK, if you're sure'.
'Cool, see you at the Causeway, 10am Saturday'

The Causeway, Saturday 9.45am - how are you supposed to count that?!

I was a bit nervous.
Silly I know, but I was nervous I was going to mess up the count, get all the bird id's wrong and be really slow, everything that would make all the more experienced birders frustrated with me and forever more give me the cold shoulder.

But this was a decent bunch o'birders.
'Er, it's only counting' Helen reminded me, all smiles.
Everyone was all smiles.
Too many smiles?
Could they be trusted?
Hmmm, ok, ok, let's get counting.

Me, Dermot and Helen covered the area to the right of the Bull, first from the Wooden Bridge, then in front of Wongs, then Duck Central, where there was a huge number of Wigeon and Teal.

'If we start you on the easy birds Siobhan, start counting the Oystercatchers and we'll cover everything else'.
Ah, what an easy way to start.
I started counting my Oystercatchers and mentally freaked out.
It was like a mini comedy of errors, the  OC's were in a tight flock and because the tide was rising, the crazy OC's kept jumping over one another to be in the middle of the flock ( a flock of about 300).
I counted up to 7 of them several times until they'd jump over each other and mess up my count, no matter how fast I counted, they jumped over each other as fast.
I was going to have to admit defeat, it was impossible to count them individually.

'Ive finished counting all the Knots, Blackwits, Dunlin and Redshanks', said Dermot.
This was not what I wanted to hear.
'Er, the Oystercatchers keep jumping over each other and I can't count them.'

'Just count them in groups of 5's, it'll be much easier' - and it was.

Oystercatchers successfully counted (849), I graduated onto Shovelers (12), Brent Geese (26) and Lapwings (51).
By noon we had finished our section and were back on the Causeway with all the others who had also finished their sections.
Dublin Bay and its 6 sections had been counted.

If you would like to help out with iwebs (counts take place once a month Sept - March all over Ireland) you should contact the iwebs national co-ordinator -
Just keep your hands off the Oystercatchers in Dublin Bay - they're mine.