Monday 23 February 2015

Coláiste Íosagáin meets Dublin Bay's birds

We were delighted to have the opportunity to meet with the students and teachers from Coláiste Íosagáin, Booterstown recently. The outing was part of the science curriculum focusing on local biodiversity and habitats, so it was an excellent opportunity to spread the word about our research on the waterbirds in Dublin Bay and the habitats upon which they rely. 

Ricky meets with Coláiste Íosagáin students
 at Booterstown Marsh Neasa Ní Ghallchóir

On the day, three 2nd year classes visited Booterstown Marsh and identified the ducks and waders feeding in the nature reserve. Later we visited Sandymount Strand to see some of the birds that prefer to feed on the sandflats and along the tideline.

We also did some radio-tracking, which proved a big hit! We’re currently tracking ten Oystercatchers to work out their foraging and roosting habitats during the day and at night, and with the girls’ help, we were able to get a few more fixes for the database. 

Getting a closer look at some Redshanks 
Neasa Ní Ghallchóir

We all got a chance to see a great variety of waterbirds on the day; everything from the vegetarian, grazing Brent Geese to the carnivorous, probing Dunlin, and learned all about their adaptations and foraging strategies. Other topics covered included disturbance, migration, population trends and conservation issues.

The girls have a go at radio-tracking 
Oystercatchers Neasa Ní Ghallchóir

A big thanks to all the students and teachers for an enjoyable morning chatting about the importance of Dublin Bay for birds and biodiversity. It was heartening to meet students who were both interested and well-informed about the natural environment around them. I wonder if the children at our Oystercatchers’ breeding grounds are as well informed. …Maybe we’ll have to plan a trip to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway or Scotland to find out! ;-)

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