It looks like 2018 was a bonanza season for terns in the irish sea with large numbers of chicks fedged at Groniant and Kilcoole despite problems with predators and storm Hector. Rockabill had a record number of roseate terns and it was reported that adults typically were able to find prey with in a few minutes of leaving the nest site suggesting that the high productivity was a result of high productivity in tern prey (sprats, atlantic herring, sand eels, pipefish). Baltray preduced a max of 11 pairs, 8 of which nested a second time following storm hector and some issues with a fox. We estimate a max of 7 checks fledged (an episode with the removal of a minke calf from the beach did not help matters). Careful observations this year showed that the terns avoided the mouth of the estuary and inner basin, foraged exclusively out to sea, often flying a north easterly direction and returning at interval of around 30 minutes. the pre item was hard to discern but atlantic herring was positively identified a few times.
Thanks again to all the volunteers, in particular Dominic Hartigan and Maurice Connaghy for all the work they did. And a big thanks to our sponsors and supporters, the Heritage Council, Birdwatch Ireland and Dublin Zoo.