Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Rockabill's first Roseate Chicks of 2014

Only a day after we had our first two Common Tern chicks hatch yesterday, we had our first Roseate Chick hatch today! Not only that, but we had our second, our third, fourth and fifth Roseates hatch too!

Here are the Common Tern chicks today - they've 'fluffed' up a bit and have been looked after by their parents all day.
One of the first Common Tern chicks getting it's wing measured. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Rockabill's first Common Tern chicks of 2014 - they've fluffed up a bit since yesterday! (Picture taken under NPWS license)

And here are some of today's Roseate chicks!  Rockabill holds over 80% of the North-West European population of Roseate Terns, so it's critical that they're monitored and conserved here - fingers crossed it will be a good year!

A Roseate Tern chick hatching out of it's egg tonight - you can see the little white egg tooth used to help it break out. (Picture taken under NPWS license)
Roseate Tern chick being weighed on 'Day Zero' (Picture taken under NPWS license)

The first Roseate Tern egg we found was in this nestbox - and this is what greeted us on our rounds today. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Another Roseate Tern chick being weighed - this one is at least half a day older than the one above. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

So the floodgates have opened in terms of Tern chicks hatching on Rockabill. There must be something in the air this week because the guys on Kilcoole beach had their first Little Terns hatch in the last few days too (see their blog here)! Needless to say hatching is only the first step and it'll be the middle of next month before these guys fledge, but hopefully the next few weeks will be good food and weather wise for the chicks (and the wardens)!

- Brian & Donnacha

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