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Outing Report

Dalket Tern Watch - July 2014.

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Dalkey Island with the Muglins in the background from Coliemore Harbour. Picture by Richard H. Coombes.

Dalkey Island from Coliemore Harbour (picture: Richard H. Coombes)

Once again members of the South Dublin Branch of BirdWatch Ireland manned the viewing area at Colimore Harbour on each of five Tuesdays in July.

This year we were relatively lucky that only one Tuesday was ruined with a white-out, as there were many days when sea-fog obscured much of Dublin Bay throughout July, and on three Tuesdays we had glorious summer evenings. We welcomed an average of ten visitors during the month as well as getting support from branch members.


Arctic Tern flying over Dalkey Sound, July 2014. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Arctic Tern, Dalkey, July 2014 (picture: Colum Clarke)

The first and second Tuesdays provided good sights of Common and Arctic Terns, flying, swooping, feeding and resting on the Maiden's Rock. One chick was spotted on each evening. All terns had forsaken Lamb Island this year. We were on the look-out for the single pair of Roseate Terns that we knew had adopted one of the nest boxes, but could not locate either of them.

On the third Tuesday all the terns had abandoned the area. We had heard from BirdWatch Ireland that they had abandoned the rock leaving eggs, suggesting they had been disturbed possibly by predators. That third Tuesday was a distinctly winterish evening adding to the gloom.

However on those 'ternless' evenings we had some good viewing, including a squadron-type fly-over from the entire, local family of Peregrine Falcons, six in all. We had good views of Black Guillemot, Ravens out on Dalkey Island, some gulls, the occasional Gannet and Curlew. On two evenings had a steady stream of Manx Shearwaters heading south. So even though the Terns did a 'Garth Brooks' for the last three gigs we made the most of the time spent at such an idyllic location on those beautiful summer evenings.


Common Tern flying over Dalkey Sound, July 2014. Picture by Colum Clarke.

Common Tern, Dalkey, July 2014 (picture: Colum Clarke)

The highlight of the evening spoiled by sea-fog was a pair of Rock Pipits that perched on the wall beside us and then on the rocks below us. We also heard the unmistakeable sound of Sandwich Terns, but no sight of them, or indeed of anything else.

Thanks to all the members and visitors who came along and made each evening such a pleasant experience.


Eleanor Keane


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