Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Flying Lessons



So we're at the end of the breeding season and the majority of chicks have been flying around the island, still getting used to their wings and how to do deal with take-offs, landings and the difficulties that a strong wind can produce. 

Common Tern chicks gathering on the helipad. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Tern chick in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)
Common Tern chick in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Tern chick in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)


They're growing up very fast and it won't be long before they're on their way to west Africa, but they still rely on mammy and daddy for dinner......


Common Tern chick calling for food. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Tern chick calling for food. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

And given that they're always hungry, and now capable of flying, sometimes a scrap breaks out for the food that comes in:

Common Tern chicks and adults fighting over food.  (Picture taken under NPWS license)


The fledgling's tails are still a bit more rounded and their tails a bit shorter than their adult counterparts so it'll be a little while yet before they can manage the full repertoire of twisting and turning aerial feats that their parents make look so effortless:

Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)
Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)


Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Terns in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)


Common Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)
Roseate Tern in flight. (Picture taken under NPWS license)



The Terns are gradually leaving Rockabill at the moment and moving to Sandymount Strand where they will meet up with Terns from Wexford and the UK before migrating to West Africa in mid/late September. We're very lucky in Ireland to have so many fantastic wildlife sites and spectacles so close to our capital city, so take a stroll down to Sandymount over the coming weeks to see Common and Roseate Terns in their thousands, with a healthy sprinkling of Arctic and Sandwich Terns - and something a bit rarer if you're lucky! 

Keep an eye out for an end-of-season blog update in the near future !





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