Meet The Team

The 2018 Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project team:
(contact us at 

Cathal Forkan (Day Warden)

Cathal Forkan has been birding from a very young age. Now a passionate birder and ornithologist he will commence an undergrad in Biotechnology in NUIG this September. After the leaving cert he chose to take a year out to work on conservation projects. Previous conservation experience includes voluntary work bird-surveying, censusing and studying raptors, assisting in the ringing of such species as Peregrine, Merlin, Kestrel and Barn Owl, as well as undertaking a two-month stint studying migratory raptors in Southern Italy's Messina Straits. He is absolutely passionate about birds and looking forward to spending the summer working in one of the country's best birding hotspots to protect one of his favourite seabirds. Cathal is enthusiastic and keen to share his avian-passion with any and all visitors to the colony, getting as much joy from sharing the magic of birds with others as he does in watching those birds.

Giles Christopher Johnson 
(Day Warden)

Chris is an experienced field ecologist, who gained much of his experience working across the savanna environments of Northern Australia. He has a BA and PhD from Trinity College Dublin: the latter focused on granivore relationships with intensive farming practices. Seabirds are new territory for him and he is delighted to be part of the Kilcoole Little Tern team. Chris was one of the wardens in the highly successful 2017 season, and is back for another.

Sally O'Meara (Assistant Day Warden)

Sally is a 3rd year Freshwater and Marine Biology student in GMIT who is passionate about nature and wildlife in all its forms. In the past year, she has developed a particular interest in birds and this summer hopes to enhance her knowledge of bird conservation initiatives in Ireland.

Sally originates from West Clare and is a member of the BirdWatch Ireland Clare Branch but also partakes in outings with the Galway Branch when possible. This spring, Sally was thrilled to have had the opportunity to conduct seabird surveys on the RV Celtic Explorer during the annual Blue Whiting Acoustic Survey. During her three weeks at sea she encountered plenty of interesting seabird species along with some migrant terrestrial bird species, some of which she had never seen before!

As part of her work placement for college, she will be working with the Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project and the Rockabill Conservation Project this summer. She looks forward to seeing the terns in action, learning the ropes and lending a hand to wardens wherever she can. 

Cole Macey (Night Warden)

Originally from Somerset, Cole came to Ireland on holiday in 1996 and never left! He has been involved in the management and conservation of wildlife his entire life with a background in game keeping, forestry, farming and as a park ranger. This is Cole's tenth year as a night warden on the Kilcoole Little Tern project, where his main duties include overseeing the installation and maintenance of fencing, protecting the colony at night from mammalian predators and again from corvids early in the morning. He adheres religiously to the colony motto of "Always AlertAlways Ready!". Cole has also worked on BirdWatch Ireland projects on Tory Island (Donegal) and Puffin Island (Kerry).

Dr. Steve Newton
 (Project Co-ordinator)

Dr. Steve Newton is a Senior Conservation Officer for BirdWatch Ireland. He is responsible for seabird research, monitoring and colony management. This comprises coordinating, on an annual basis, the Irish input to the Seabird Monitoring Programme (UK-Ireland) and managing the Rockabill Roseate Tern and the Kilcoole Little Tern Projects. Steve organised the first quantitative survey of nocturnal petrels and shearwaters on west coast islands in 2000-2001 as part of the Seabird 2000 Project. He was also responsible for managing the BWI/NPWS Chough Survey and follow-up research programme (2002 to 2010), the NPWS/BWI Upland Bird Survey (2002-2004), and other work on upland habitats and their birds, including Hen Harrier and Red Grouse. He is a member of the all-Ireland team responsible for the 'Birds of Conservation Concern' process which reviews the Red, Amber and Green lists for Ireland and is a member of the Irish Rare Breeding Birds Panel.