Not only have the Little Terns done well this year down at the Kilcoole colony but so have the Oystercatchers & Ringed Plovers. This isn't surprising given that they also benefit from the extra protection from predators & human disturbance afforded by the fencing & 24 hour a day wardening.
A total of 15 nesting attempts were made by 7-8 pairs of Ringed Plovers, comprising of 2 pairs in the N-colony, 4-5 pairs in the K-colony & another pair just to the north of the K-colony fencing in the buffer zone. Most of these pairs laid early enough to allow them to raise their first brood & then try again for a second.
The two pairs that bred in the N-colony were predated at the egg stage, most likely by Hooded Crows, but one pair did manage to hatch it's chicks from a second nesting attempt. Otherwise, only a handful of eggs failed to hatch & these usually involved eggs in second clutches which is to be expected.
So all in all, 43 chicks hatched with a maximum of 37 fledging of which 31 were ringed. This is a great result compared to last year when 6 pairs bred but hardly raised any young to fledging for reasons unknown.
|Various Ringed Plover chick pics. They're definitely the coolest little fellas on the beach! © Niall Keogh|
The two pairs of Oystercatchers that nested on the beach (a pair each in the K & N-colony) both laid 3 eggs of which which 2 hatched from each nest. The parent Oycs did a great job keeping their young well fed & out of danger, chasing every gull & crow that approached in anyway close with the result that all 4 Oyc chicks fledged & can now been seen feeding in The Breaches estuary. A third pair also bred nearby in Webb's field, fledging two young. Again, another improvement on last year when both pairs on the beach fledged single young each whilst the Webb's field pair was predated at the egg stage.
|A well grown Oyc chick from the OC2 pair in the K-colony being fed by a parent © Jamie Durrant|
|One of the two Oyc chicks from the pair that bred in Webb's field. Both chicks were caught & ringed © Niall Keogh|