Tuesday 11 June 2013

Breeding Terns in Dublin Port

Dublin Port has been home to a colony of breeding terns since at least 1949, and in recent years, has supported 550 and 55 pairs of Common and Arctic Terns, respectively. The monitoring programme that was started by the late Oscar Merne in 1995 will be continued by BirdWatch Ireland this year, and in subsequent years.

Tern platform in Dublin Port. Richard Nairn

Although the cold spring has resulted in delayed commencement of breeding for lots of birds, the Common and Arctic Terns in Dublin Port are now nesting. Last week’s colony census recorded 263 Common Tern and 8 Arctic Tern nests. Worryingly, a cache of at least 23 tern egg shells was found on one of the platforms, with the culprit most likely a corvid. 

Depredated tern eggs cached on the platform. Richard Nairn

As the colony reaches it full strength, it’s likely that the full complement of terns will be sufficient to drive off any intruders. As someone who has ringed in tern colonies, I can tell you that hundreds of angry terns have no trouble making their feelings known...

The joys of tern fieldwork!

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