Saturday, 21 May 2016

First eggs on Rockabill for 2016!

If you're on Twitter you might be aware of "Seabirder Saturday" (or #SeabirderSaturday), which basically gives those of us who have an interest or appreciation for seabirds to post pictures, share observations and science and just generally talk about how great seabirds are once a week! Well it seems our Terns are getting in on the act as we found our first Roseate Tern and Common Tern eggs this morning!

Our first Roseate Tern egg is in one of the boxes kindly supplied by Balbriggan Community College last year. So a big thanks to the students and teachers at Balbriggan Community College, as well as the Fingal Branch of Birdwatch Ireland, for their support.

The first Roseate Tern egg on Rockabill in 2016. (BB - Picture taken under NPWS license)

The first Roseate Tern egg on Rockabill in 2016.  In general they have a longer more pointed shape than Common or Arctic Tern eggs, and have finer spots. (BB - Picture taken under NPWS license)

Our first Common Tern eggs (there's two in seperate nests) are in one of the gardens beside the lighthouse. See the pictures below to get an idea of the work we had to do to get it ready for nesting! (Edit: We're now on three nests and counting...)

The first Common Tern egg on Rockabill in 2016. (BB - Picture taken under NPWS license)
The second Common Tern egg on Rockabill in 2016! (BB - Picture taken under NPWS license)
The garden where we found our first Common Tern eggs before vegetation removal (DKS)
The same garden several hours later! Room for plenty of nests! (DKS)

The birds had been settling down more every day at the start of the week, but the strong winds in recent days have caused some disruption again unfortunately. Interestingly, the Rockabill Terns tend to lay their first eggs around a week later than those at Ladys Island in Wexford, and this year was no exception. Over the course of the summer we'll have something like 2,000-3,000 Roseate Tern eggs and 4,000+ Common Tern eggs on Rockabill. 

Things are about to get busy!! 

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