Thursday, 1 June 2017

Meet the Wardens

Taken under NPWS licence

It’s been a great day for the Parish here on Rockabill. First of all, we have our illustrious OverLord-and-Master Steve Newton out to visit us. He is determined to teach us his ways, and has been hand catching black guillemots all morning to assert his dominance and secure our enduring servitude.

Steve removes a GLS tracker from a Black Guillemot.

Some of the black guilles on the island had previously been fitted with GLS trackers (Geo-location systems) to give us an insight into where they spend their time during the winter.
According to the literature, Black guilles are not expected to move around much, but we will keep you posted if we find differently!

Black Guillemot with butterfish taken through a scope. 


The Return of a Hero.
Along with some much appreciated milk, Steve supplied us with  Andrew POWA! Andrew’s an old hand when it comes to terns, having been a warden on Rockabill in 2015. He’s back out to gather data on ocean contaminants for his PhD!!! Fair play Andrew. He was willing to share his tomatoes and cheese with us, so we will continue to expect great things from him: one to watch!

This week’s adventures will be the subject of blogs to follow, but since we’re finally settled and getting used to life on the island, we thought that first we should properly introduce ourselves! Without further ado, please welcome the cast of this year’s summer season: the tern wardens of Rockabill; a breed rarer than the Roseates themselves.

Shane Somers
Age: 24 and a half.
Wing span: 6’7”.
Special skill: Heavyweight Generator Starting Champion of the World (one week undefeated so far).
Shane is commander in chief out here, having spent 5 weeks on the Island last summer. He has worked with everything from sparrow weavers in South Africa to cutting edge gas sensing lasers in one of the world’s smallest labs. If his sanity survives the season, he will go on to betray his Trinity roots by undertaking a Computational Biology Masters in UCC this September.
He doesn’t have a fun fact about himself, but he’s a lovely guy, honestly.
Quote: “When Brian was here..”.

David Miley “Cyrus”
Age: Mid-forties
Ring tone: “Funky town” 
Special skill: Making delicious dinners and emitting powerful yells when they fall on the floor.
Nemesis: the Common (or garden) Tern.
On top of his secret and successful career as a teen-pop sensation, Miley is our resident handy man, responsible for building new ring reading hides and repairing lighthouse steps! Building on his origins as a Galwegian Marine Scientist, he went on to do an environmental Masters in UCD and now has an interest in everything from bat surveys to identifying grasses! He is an enthusiast of Irish biodiversity in all it’s forms, though the common terns in our densely populated Garden Five are testing his patience.
Quote: “This island has taken everything from me”.

Caroline Mckeon
Age: No longer an undergraduate
Kryptonite: Gluten
Irene  Caroline has recently finished her final exams and is eager to tell you all about it. This fast talking southside dub has exploded out of final year Trinity zoology in a blaze of glory to make her name as a Bird Saviour in the high stakes world of seabird conservation. Having recently gained the ability to differentiate between gannets and swans on the wing, this newest edition to the Rockabill crew is set to make a splash.

Quote: “Im not as posh as I sound”.

Stay tuned for updates!!! - Rockabill wardens 2017


  1. Hi guys, can you add a 'follow' button to your blog please?

  2. Great to see back on air again. I have vsited Rockabill 3 times and enjoyed these trips so much.

    I will be reading every word you post and I hope that you have a really successful season. Jim Wells (Northern Ireland)