Peak colony count so far of 100 birds on 21st June and 80 on 9th July. Forty-two Little Tern chicks have been BTO metal ringed (one also colour ringed) and three Ringed Plover chicks BTO metal ringed between 6th and 10th July, with thanks to Jen Lynch (NPWS) for her assistance here.
Two green colour ringed adult Little Terns were seen along the foreshore on 6th July. The inscriptions on the rings identified them as birds ringed as chicks at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow in 2015 and 2017. Thanks to Steve Newton (BirdWatch Ireland) for this info. A juvenile Little Tern was seen flying around with adults along the foreshore on 9th July. This may be a bird that got through with the initial batch in late May or may be from another colony, Kilcoole or Gronaint (across the irish sea in Wales).
A pair of Sparrowhawks are now hunting around the colony area. The female has been seen catching juvenile Starlings and likely also took an adult Little Tern. Efforts should be made to chase these birds off when perched in or around the tern colony in order to minimise potential loss of chicks and adults.
We are asking beach goers and dog walkers should be aware that the area immediately in front of the colony (between the signs and fence to the north and south) is strictly out of bounds for the remainder of the project season (up to mid August) because this is where the chicks are likely to congregate; chicks may freeze if approached and end up being trodden on or eaten…
A wide variety of birds recorded in the area since late June totalled no less than 67 species! These include Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Great Crested Grebe, Red-throated Diver and Manx Shearwater offshore; Arctic Skua, Roseate Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and up to 1200 Knot along the foreshore; Stock Dove, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Linnet flocks and plentiful Skylarks in the sand dunes. Lots of other wildlife noted in the area too such as Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Painted Lady, Irish Hare, Common Seal and Harbour Porpoise.
(Niall is working with the Louth Nature Trust to study the ecology of the site and and terns)