Sunday, 25 May 2014

Some nasty weather and the first nest!

After a promising start in Kilcoole, the poor weather of late has given us a minor setback. The wind, rain and cold have delayed the Little Terns nesting and we have only just found that elusive first egg today, but we're not complaining! We were getting a little anxious but after the stormy weather on the 23rd of May we’re glad they were a little late. The strong northeast winds coupled with the high tide took down part of our seaward fence and washed plenty of seaweed onto the beach which later attracted foraging Hoooded Crows, a major foe of the Little Terns. 

 The nasty weather on Friday © Andrew Power

The tides even managed to encroach as far as one of the Ringed Plover nests and one of the Oystercatcher nests. The resourceful Ringed Plover parents incredibly moved all four of their eggs out of the nest scrape about 30 cm away from the threatening tide to safety! The tide briefly and gently covered the Oystercatcher nest but we expect everything to be okay as eggs are resilient and durable. Both the Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers were incubating on their nests as normal when the weather calmed down.

The original nest scrape is on the left and the 4 eggs moved by the parents can be seen on the right © Andrew Power

It was sad to find an injured Guillemot in the colony that had obviously suffered from the horrible weather. It died shortly after we found it showing how tough the conditions were. Hopefully the bad weather will at least encourage the Terns to nest higher up on the beach.

A casualty of the bad weather © Andrew Power

To end on a positive note the first Ringed Plover chicks of the year hatched successfully on the 21st of May, nice and early.  We have also seen plenty of fledglings on site such as Pied Wagtails, Stonechats and Robins. The weather has certainly improved for the moment and it was great to see so many butterflies fluttering about, we spotted the first Painted Lady and Common Blue of the year today. We have a long season to look forward to and hopefully the sun will keep shining!

Kilcoole Ringed Plover with young © Andrew Power

Andrew Power 


  1. That egg-moving behaviour by your Ringed Plover is surely worthy of a short note in "some" birding journal? Great observation, I have never heard of any RP doing this.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi,

      Thank you. We recently published our observations on this behaviour and a similar behaviour shown by Little Terns in Irish Birds. We will be blogging about it soon.