Hello and apologies for the radio silence! Since peak hatching was reached we have been scrambling to keep up with the chicks' progress, leaving us little time for anything else. In the last week we've had our first fledglings take flight and things are becoming distinctly calmer around here,so it's high time we filled you in on the goings-on here.
A week after we said our sad goodbyes to our Coquet Island counterparts we re-embarked on our censusing mission. The combined results of the two censuses gave us an estimate of breeding pair numbers: 1,633 Roseate Tern pairs, 2,044 Common Tern pairs, and 53 Arctic Tern pairs (compared to 27 last year).
The team in action, photo courtesy of Brian Burke, taken under NPWS licence.
This year's ringing sweep was a Rockabill reunion, with Brian Burke and Shane Somers, two seasoned former wardens, returning to volunteer their time. Several days of concentrated ringing later and all but the most Houdini-like eligible chicks were ringed. All in all we ringed 1,608 Roseate Tern chicks, 1,826 Common Tern chicks, 5 Arctic Tern chicks and 79 Black Guillemot chicks. This number is still growing, as the younger chicks get to a size suitable for ringing.
L: Common tern chicks queueing to be ringed. Photo Luíse Ní D. R: Heidi with an Arctic tern chick. Photo by Brian Burke, both taken under NPWS licence.
It's not all terns! Black guillemot chicks: young chicks on left, chick on right 2 weeks or so down the line. Photos by Brian Burke, under NPWS licence.
Since then we have begun ringing Kittiwake chicks, with 69 ringed so far. Steve also recaptured a sample of adult Kittiwakes to assess adult survival.
More to come soon,
Luíse Ní Dhonnabháin & the Rockabill Team.