Outing Report

Dalket Tern Watch - July 2013.

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South Dublin members on Tern Watch with Dalkey Island in the background, July 2013. Picture by Ronan Browne.

South Dublin members at Coliemore Harbour for Dalkey Tern Watch 2013 (picture: Ronan Browne)

Each Tuesday evening in July 2013 for approximately two hours, we in the South Dublin Branch of BirdWatch Ireland attended at Coliemore Harbour, Dalkey for our annual Tern Watch sessions, where the public and our members were welcome to come along and see some birds and learn a little more about them.

This year it was an absolute pleasure to be there, as the weather was ideal each evening. The Terns were not as plentiful as on other years, however there were some good numbers of Arctic Terns flying over and landing on Maiden's Rock, their favoured breeding site in this area. On the third week two tern chicks were sighted and on the last week just one, almost ready to fledge remained. We saw some Common and Sandwich Terns each evening though not in any great number. Overall it was not a good year for breeding in the Dalkey area, as the Common Terns which had began nesting on Lamb Island in early June abandoned the area after some possible disturbance on the weekend of the 9th/10th June.

The presence of breeding Black Guillemot were in themselves an attraction as they were feeding young in nests in holes in the Harbour walls. They landed on the sea wall on occasion before flying in and Stephen McAvoy identified their catch/chick food as Butterfish.

We had great views of a continual stream of Manx Shearwater on the first evening as they flew southwards just behind Maiden's Rock and Lamb Island. They flew past each evening some times not as plentiful or as close to us, as on the first occasion.

Maiden's Rock with Howth in the background, July 2013. Picture by Ronan Browne.

Maiden's Rock, Dalkey, July 2013 (picture: Ronan Browne)

A few Herring Gull chicks were sighted, also Great Black-backed Gull chicks on Dalkey Island. The resident goats and rabbits were easy to spot through the telescopes as were the local Common Seal colony. As the weather was so good there were plenty of Kayaks and all types of pleasure craft passing through Dalkey sound, and young people jumping into the water from the harbour walls, which gave the area a high level of activity not always seen there in poorer weather.

Also seen were Guillemot and Razorbill and even a few Puffin flying further off shore on one occasion. Some Gannet drifted by most evenings much to the delight of all present. A flock of Curlew flew in one evening but one had to be quick to spot them before they landed out of sight at the seaward side of Lamb Island. A pair of Pied Wagtail entertained for two evenings as they fed a fledgling chick close by, and we had the lovely swooping of Swallows each evening, and occasionally House Martins.

We had on average twenty five people in attendance each evening, some local and some from South Africa , Australia and even New Zealand. Thanks to all South Dublin Branch members who came along with telescopes to give people a good view of what was about.

Eleanor Keane

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