Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Summering waders

Sandymount strand was chock-a-block with joggers, walkers and dogs on Sunday morning, but they weren't the only ones taking advantage of what Sandymount Strand has to offer. As soon as I pulled up, I noticed a flock of ‘smalls,’ (i.e. unidentified Dunlin-sized waders) pinging around between the joggers and dogs. A glimpse of some black bellies allowed me to confirm that they were mostly smart-looking, summer plumaged Dunlin, but there were some Ringed Plover tagging along too. A quick scan with the scope through the heat haze produced 109 Oystercatchers distributed in several aggregations and a flock of 154 Bar-tailed Godwits on the tide line further south, towards Booterstown Station.

To be honest, I was surprised to see so many waders still hanging around on the beach. I don’t usually give too much thought to waders outside the September to March I-WeBS season. I suppose it just goes to show how important year-round counts are at a site like Dublin Bay.

Sunny Sandymount Strand

The ring-reading conditions were perfect: pleasant temperature, good sunshine and a backing track of Swallows and Common Terns chattering and squabbling overhead. I managed to read twelve rings, but there were 5 or 6 that I just couldn't get....something ‘J’... or was that something ‘I’... No, definitely an ‘L’...but what’s the first letter? Get out of that puddle and let me see it!

Thanks again to those of you who have been diligently sending in ring re-sightings. We’re slowly putting this story together, but new ring readers are always welcome to contribute to this worthwhile research. No need for flasks or hats or gloves - just grab the scope and the notebook and get out there! 

Arctic Terns – extraordinary migrants

As you know, we have put colour rings on a number of Oystercatchers to allow them to tell us a story about their movements around Dublin Bay and beyond, and we intend to do some hi-tech tracking work in the coming years too. Who knows what story this work will tell?

...But if birds could actually tell stories, what would they say?