|A relaxed, reclining youngster. Photo taken under NPWS licence, by Andrew McManus.|
The weather has been spectacular of late, and even factor 50 couldn't protect us from farmer's tans. The sunshine and low winds gave us the perfect opportunity to ring as many chicks as we could find within a couple of days. Any recaptured chicks were weighed (using a spring balance) and measured (using a wing rule);- this information gives an insight into just how fast the chicks grow in this early stage, as they gulp down the sandeels, sprats and other prey caught by their parents. Chicks that are old and big enough are currently being fitted with colour rings. Green darvic rings with three-alpha or three-alpha-numeric codes, always beginning with "I," (Ireland), are fitted to the tarsus of the leg, so that wherever they go, those Little Terns can be traced back to the Kilcoole colony.
|Chris assessing a chick to see if it's grown big enough for a ring. Photo taken under NPWS licence, by Andrew McManus.|
|Yours truly, squatting to pick up a squatting chick. Photo taken under NPWS licence, by Andrew McManus.|
Little Tern chicks aren't the only chicks scurrying around the shingle. A Ringed Plover nest hatched recently, so keep an eye out for balls of cotton wool on stilts, bumbling along at surprisingly high speeds.
|A Ringed Plover chick. Photo taken under NPWS licence, by Jason Monaghan.|
|Rainbows like this are a regular sight at Kilcoole- this is one seen from the front window of the hide. (I.Sullivan).|