Friday, 9 August 2013

Returning Waders

This project involves year-round monitoring of Dublin Bay and the waterbirds it supports. A team of ornithologists will be surveying the area at various tidal stages and times of the day (including at night!) to chart waterbird distribution, abundance and behaviour throughout the bay. This information will allow us to build up a comprehensive representation of how the birds are using the bay for roosting and foraging (click here for more info on this) and will allow us define the most important areas.

Greenshank (right) with Redshank  John Fox 

Our first counts took place last month, and we notched up 24 different waterbird species. As expected, numbers were still low, as the majority of the northern breeders have yet to arrive. We had good numbers of Greenshank, most presumably on passage, but we didn’t manage to see any colour rings (click here for more info on colour-ringed Greenshank). Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher were present in decent numbers, and we had a few Whimbrel too.

Curlew Dick Coombes

It was great to be watching Bar-tailed Godwits in their “tomato soup” coloured summer plumage and Black-headed Gulls with their chocolate brown hoods while listening to House Martins and Swallows chattering overhead on their aerial pursuits. But it won’t be too long now before the summer plumage and the hirundine backing track fades, and we’re left with drab winter plumage and cold hands…

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