Saturday, 20 June 2015

Unexpected visitors

There were two unusual visitors at the colony over the past few days.

The first was a Manx Shearwater. Generally only seen far offshore through our telescopes, this bird was caught during an overnight mist-netting session by Declan Manley. After taking and recording its body measurements, the Shearwater was released back into the night with a shiny new ring on its leg.

Manx Shearwater mist-netted near Kilcoole last week
The second visitor was even more unexpected. Our warden Jerry was keeping an eye on things from the bird-hide when he heard a scratching on the roof above his head. Thinking it might be a small flock of the juvenile Starlings that landed on top, he leaned out the window only to find himself face to face with a Grey Squirrel. Moments later, the startled squirrel was racing away down the train tracks with an angry mob of Terns on its tail.

A squirrel is indeed an unusual sight in the colony, since there isn’t a tree for miles. He is unlikely to be of any threat to the Terns, but their intensely defensive behaviour probably scared him off for good. However, it is great to see the colony protecting their eggs and chicks so fiercely. We have over 70 chicks on the beach today and it is good to know they are so well guarded!

Susan and Paddy

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