|The 'ESB Dolphin',|
as seen from the River Liffey Brian Burke
|Adult terns terns flush as the boat approaches the 'CDL Dolphin' Richard Nairn|
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon we visited three of the structures in the bay; "Pontoon 1" on the outer Tolka Estuary , "Pontoon 2" and the "CDL Dolphin", both near Poolbeg. Boat transport provided through Dublin Port Co by Jimmy based at Poolbeg Yacht Club, which beats rowing out in the dinghy for sure...thanks Jimmy!
|Boat ride with a view of the iconic Poolbeg Brian Burke|
|Pontoon 2. compartments are top real estate for port terns; complete with only the best nesting|
gravel, hideaways, chick shelters and not to mention a great view of the port! Brian Burke
|Ringing the young terns is a team effort. Brian Burke|
|"Feed me" - a young Common Tern chick Brian Burke|
|A young Arctic Tern chick definitely fits in the palm of a hand Brian Burke|
A tern nest (using the word "nest" loosely) is just a scrape in the substate and eggs are well camouflaged in the shallow cup, so they can be hard to find but easy to step on. However once you step lightly and know what to look out for the little ones are safe. We are happy with the numbers we've found so far - over 300 nests were found on Pontoon 2 alone. We ringed all suitably robust chicks and will ring the remainder during our next visits.
|Although nests are basic, you sometimes see them|
decorated with items like this toy plastic fish, which
was probably mistaken for the real thing Brian Burke
|A splash of colour. This red/orange colour|
is unusual to see in terns eggs Brian Burke
|Creative with crab legs - |
all sorts of materials are used for the nest scrape Brian Burke
So far this season the birds within the wider port colonies are doing a great job and all is going well. In saying that the young terns are sensitive to bad weather conditions and predation events so we'll be eager to get out to the colonies again and keep an eye on their progress. Let's hope those parents keep up the good work! Keep an eye on the blog for updates on how they're doing.