The arrival of our first eggs has brought a new wave of excitement to Rockabill!
|Common Tern egg (left) and Roseate Tern egg in a nestbox (right) (E. Tiernan, photo taken under NPWS license)|
The week started off slow, which was an unusual feeling for us wardens. During this time, we were treated to groups of Puffins, Razorbills and Common Guillemots around the island.
|Puffin, Razorbill and Guillemot paying a visit to Rockabill (E. Tiernan)|
It was certainly a “calm before the storm” situation. Barely two days after we finished fixing the last of the nest boxes in place, we started finding our first nests of Common Tern eggs. Each of us had found Common eggs in at least one of our study areas.
|Common Tern eggs (top) and an adult Common Tern sitting back down on its clutch - note the coded clothes peg that we use to mark some of the nests! (E. Tiernan, photos taken under NPWS license)|
We didn’t have to wait too long before we found the first Roseate Tern eggs. The first Roseate egg of the season for Rockabill was found on the 17th of May. By the 20th, Andrew and I found the first full Roseate clutches (we are still arguing over who found theirs first!!).
|Top: Full clutch of Roseate Tern eggs Bottom: Roseate Terns incubating their eggs inside their nest boxes (E. Tiernan Photos taken under NPWS license)|
We are now finding new nests and new eggs with every nest check. Our nest checks are performed each morning and evening to help us to determine a timeline for each egg. For the rest of the day, you can find us wardens in the hides that have been erected at different points around the island. We spend our afternoons between nest checks carrying out ring reading on all the Rockabill terns.
Throughout the season we will be recording as many re-sightings as we can. Each trip down to our hides is fast becoming a dangerous obstacle course. Whilst Roseate Terns prefer to nest in sheltered areas (which is imitated by the many nest boxes), Common Terns nest in open soil or gravel. This means that throughout the week the Common Terns have been nesting in any cracks along the paths.
|Top: Common Tern protecting it’s clutch of eggs on the path close by; Bottom Clutch of two common Tern eggs in a nest made in a crack in the path. (E. Tiernan Photos taken under NPWS license)|
That’s all the news we have for you this week. Things are about to get much busier as we eagerly await the arrival of our first chicks.
- Emma & the Rockabill Team.