The fence was dismantled yesterday, many thanks to all who turned out to help. The weather was kind and the rain kept away. The final figure for 2012 is 24 chicks fledged, a good outcome all considered.
At the beginning of this year's project, Sandra and I made known our decision to resign when this year's chicks were fledged. Sandra was the driving force behind the setting up of the project. In 2006 she and Tommy and I checked Baltray for Little Terns at her suggestion. When it was clear that they were having no breeding success because of walkers, dogs etc, Sandra became a woman on a mission. We erected a makeshift fence that day though it was too late for that year's chicks. In 2007 the project formally began - we had no idea how big it would become and how much of our time would be tied up in it. We have learned a great deal and have enjoyed many magical moments in the Haven, such as discovering the first eggs and seeing new chicks hatch. We have been honoured to work with many wonderful volunteers over the years, people come and go but there have been some who have remained steadfast over the six years.
The time has come for others to take over the running of the project. Much as we love it, it has taken over a huge portion of our lives and is too much work for two people to continue long term, taking into consideration that both of us work. The other two members of the project team, Aine and Peter also have work and family committments that require much time so they are not in a position to take on more project responsibility. All four of the project team (Sandra, Aine, Peter and myself) will be happy to continue to warden as volunteers in future years.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who contributed to the success of the project. The list is endless .... the volunteers who gave up their time to warden in fine weather but often in dreary conditions and to put up and take down the fence which is no small job .... the walkers who changed their route so that the Little Terns could breed in peace ..... the local people who showed an interest in the project, who came out to chat to the wardens and enquire how the project was going ...... the agencies who provided funding over the years, Padraig Comerford and Maurice Eaken of the NPWS who believed in us from the start and who supported the project in whatever way they could and their rangers who provided wardening weekly over the last few years. The Heritage Council who gave much needed funding that enabled us to employ part time wardens. Those who made donations and provided sponsorship including Dublin Zoo. Coca-Cola for their sponsorship of the schools poster competition and the schools for allowing Peter to address the classes each year ...... the Hartigan family whose land we all use to gain access to the project site. They have wholeheartedly supported the project from the beginning and have facilitated us with full access through their land.... the media for keeping the project in the public domain We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
It would not be fair to name individuals as so many were outstanding in different ways but we do have to mention one in particular and I think that everyone will agree that Maurice Conaghy deserves to be outed!! We met Maurice in 2007 when the project was in it's first year and he has been a huge part of the project since that day. He looks after predator control and his love of nature and wildlife makes him an ideal candidate for this - he is a safe pair of hands. He is passionate about the project and about the Haven and knows every blade of grass in it. He is hugely protective of the Little Terns and The Little Tern Conservation Project is very close to his heart - we all owe Maurice a huge debt of thanks.
Edit by Sandra
: Another special mention has to go to Tommy Reilly who has been very much at the centre of the project from day one. Tommy's technical expertise has been a crucial part of making the project possible, we'd never have got things off the ground or managed over the years without him - a huge thank you to Tommy!
Thank you one and all and the best of luck to the project in future years. And finally, some photos from yesterday.
Volunteers hard at work freeing up the plastic mesh fence.
Aine, Patricia, Mick, Tony & Ray, oh and Ruby of course.
The perfect roll. Larry & Aine.
Brendan & Patricia at the break.
Mick, Sandra, Patricia & Aine at the break.
A penny for them Tommy. Mark, Brendan & Tommy at the break.
Tony had to lubricate the vocal chords after all the singing! Tony & Ray at the break.
Vincent, Larry & Matt sorting out the problems of the world, or maybe just discussing cameras.