Left: Hedgehog apprehended on the Kilcoole colony by night wardens. Right: Example. Note the right angled incision in the chicken egg, characteristic of this species, this individual was not the culprit here though.
Before we move on to some more positive news it must be reported that a continuation in bad weather and wind from the east, last week, caused the 'washing up' of a further 27 nests which had been laid too close to the high tide line. The losses were to include fourteen of the fifteen nests at the 'satellite colony' south of the breaches. Miraculously, one nest remains there and it is that of our previously christened pair Evan and Hazel. We have been spared a posit of joy from the almost decimated satellite colony and I fervently look forward to reporting on the arrival of chicks from Evan and Hazel.
Despite a marathon of hurdles, currently the colony remains active and is doing well with the second coming of many Little Terns to the skies over Kilcoole. During the past week the predation threat has diminished considerably allowing many chicks to hatch and many more nests to be relaid. Presently there are 61 active nests and over the course of the past week wardens have been busy ringing a total of 46 chicks.
|Little Tern chick alongside expectant siblings.|
|Incubating. Many birds continue to relay after a harrowing start to the season.|
The visits didn't all go exactly as planned however, as on one of the mornings just as a school group was arriving on site we were accosted by a very tame fox which made it's way along the footpath adjacent to the colony. This fox did not scare easily and barely flinched in the face of a challenge from the two wardens present. Eventually the intruder was escorted away but not before showing a considerable interest to what was happening within the confines of the fenced off colony. Once the fox had departed we were somewhat amazed at the audacity but briskly regrouped to chat to our guests, who were more than happy to have encountered the sly fox.
Fantastically casual Mr. Fox.
Wardens watching Little Terns through the scope with pupils from St. Laurence's school.
If you get a chance drop down to the beach and see us, we will be delighted to have a chat! On Saturday we will be joined by the Wicklow branch of Birdwatch Ireland, perhaps you could join them for a full guided tour of the local wildlife from Kilcoole to the breaches, including the Little Terns.
All the best for now,