The bird of the season, Sterna dougallii A.K.A. The Roseate Tern, mid-preen [(Photograph courtesy of Shane Somers) Taken under NPWS License]
Day 13 in the Big Birdy House, oh sorry I mean Rockabill Island. Today is the first full day for our newest arrival Caroline McKeon, fresh in from finishing her final exams in Zoology, congratulations and fair play Caroline! We’ve been showing her the ropes and getting her used to all her new wardening duties. It’s also a day mixed with a tinge of sadness at losing our former Rockabill Warden/Blog writer/Pun Enthusiast Irene Sullivan yesterday, who has moved into a luxurious caravan in Kilcoole where she will be working as a Little Tern Warden and has access to all the pleasantries of mainland life such as running water and showers within a ten minute walk from her residence.
|A brand-spanking-new batch of nest-boxes thanks to the crafty students of Balbriggan Community College! Thanks folks! (Photograph courtesy of Shane Somers)|
Along with our warden exchange we also received a fresh shipment of finely crafted and greatly appreciated nest boxes from the kind and skilled students of Balbriggan Community College. No time has been wasted in getting these precious love shacks out to the various sites around the Rock where they will provide ample protection for nesting Roseate Terns, their clutches of eggs and soon to be pulli (that’s chicks that haven’t fledge yet, for the uninitiated). Nest boxes have been instrumental in increasing the Roseate Tern population on Rockabill, they protect eggs and chicks from what can be extremely harsh weather conditions on this tiny island, as well as providing a hideout from the prying eyes of a variety of predators. So thank you very much to all the students and staff at Balbriggan Community College your work and generous donations will contribute to the conservation of one Europe’s rarest breeding seabirds!
|The old and the new; a row of our old and deteriorating boxes against our shiny, generously contributed, new boxes! [(Photograph courtesy of Shane Somers) Taken under NPWS License]|
It doesn’t take long after deployment for our Rosies to start scouting out new boxes, as the pairs have a squawk about the new real estate, a bit of a perch and see if this is the next rung on the property ladder for them. Once the decision is made they’ll settle and get a scrape going, forming a nice fresh bowl under their luxurious ceilings and, with any luck, eggs.
Things are changing rapidly around Rockabill, we had our first Roseate egg on the 13th after a quiet lull of no other eggs in sight for 4 days, it’s all starting to happen at once with eggs springing up all over the place since yesterday (May 17th), it’s keeping myself, Shane and Caroline on our toes (literally: we have to be very careful moving around the island as eggs can be laid and hidden anywhere!).
Well that’s all for now everyone thanks for reading and may your day be filled with a lot less bird guano than mine! :D
Yours TrulyDavid Miley