Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The morning after the day before...

Firstly, we hope everyone enjoyed their Bank Holiday weekend! The weather on Rockabill has been fantastic and our colleagues appear to have enjoyed themselves at  Bloom Festival 2016. And a big welcome to all our of new members too!

Out on Rockabill it's hard to remember what day it is, nevermind whether it's a Bank Holiday or not! We did get a bit of a reminder from some of things we saw around us today though...

The first was a fantastic tall ship from the Dublin Port Riverfest. There was a bit of fog and mist around today so you can imagine our surprise when this appeared just south of the island! Not many people get to look out of their front door and see thousands of Terns and a tall ship slowly sailing by - a nice little reminder of how lucky we are to be doing the work we're doing!

One of the tall ships from Dublin Port takes a spin around Rockabill -an impressive sight!
This Common Tern wasn't as impressed as we were! 

The other thing we saw was completely disheartening - a bunch of balloons on the surface of the sea. These balloons were obviously released on the mainland in celebration of something, but unfortunately no thought was given to the fact that what goes up must come down and those balloons are going to end up somewhere. We've found burst balloons and their ribbons in Black Guillemot and Kittiwake nests on Rockabill, and a mere mention of balloons amongst our seabird colleagues brings up some horrific stories of birds with balloons wrapped around their leg preventing them from feeding, or seabirds, whales, dolphins and turtles mistaking burst balloons for food and eating them and eventually dying as a result. So for the next sunny weekend or bank holiday, if anyone is thinking of having balloons at their event please have a quick word with them and suggest some other way of marking the occasion! 

A bunch of balloons on the sea near Rockabill, presumably released somewhere in Dublin on bank Holiday Monday.
A Fulmar attempting to eat a balloon that was flaoting on the surface of the sea, off the west coast of Ireland (picture by Niall Keogh @nialltkeogh ).
A Guillemot near the Farne Islands, off the east coast of England, with a balloon wrapped around it's leg that prevented it from diving to feed itself. This one was rescued, most aren't so lucky! (picture from David Steel @SteelySeabirder & Em Witcutt @turtlegoblin)

Here's a previous press release on the subject from Birdwatch Ireland, Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and the Irish Seal Sanctuary. By spreading the word to friends and family we can all play a part in making sure this entirely preventable consequences don't continue to happen to our wildlife.

Remember - what goes up must come down!

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