Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Dalkey Tern Colony 2017

The first visit to the colony this season was on 10th May with approximately 50 terns on Maidens' (10 Common Tern & 40 Arctic) and 17 on Lamb. By 20th May we had all our nest boxes out, 25 on Lamb and 14 on Maidens'. We also put out lots of gravel and sand on each island to make the site as attractive as possible to breeding terns. Hopefully we can attract some Roseates, none so far! (I'm still hopeful) 

Susannah helping me put nest boxes and gravel on Maidens' Rock.

Me marking new nests on Maidens' Rock

My most recent visit to check the colony was May 30th. The colony is now up to similar numbers to last year, with 116 nests in total, with 90 on Lamb Island, 23 on Maidens’ Rock and 3 on Dalkey Island. The Dalkey Island birds are surrounded by breeding large gulls, within 3 metres of a Great Black-backed Gull nest. I don’t know why they chose that spot when there’s a much nicer and safer spot on Lamb but fingers crossed they are successful.

Nest with 3 Arctic Tern eggs, Picture taken under licence from NPWS, Susannah Cass. 

Very unusual to get 4 eggs in an Arctic Tern nest, probably one laid by another tern, picture taken under license from NPWS, Andrew Butler

Nest boxes and Arctic Terns nesting on Lamb Island, Andrew Butler

Loading Ken’s boat with new nest boxes at Coliemore Harbour, Susannah Cass

I hope to do regular visits throughout the season to track the progress of the colony and hopefully get some Roseate Terns nesting too.

Johnny the ferryman bringing me out for my regular visits. Lamb and Dalkey Islands in the background.


The Dalkey Tern Watch is running every Tuesday Evening 5-8pm until the end of July at Coliemore Harbour as well as Saturday events, dates to follow.

The next events are this weekend, Sunday 4th & Monday 5th. 11am-1pm I’ll be running the Tern Watch as normal and then 2:30, 3:30 & 4:30pm I will be running 40 min guided walks on Dalkey Island. You need to make your own way to the Island (ferry), meeting at the pier on the Island. So the event is weather/boat dependant.

The first 2 Tuesdays have been very nice with lovely weather but I wouldn’t mind a few more visitors, so anybody thinking of coming along, please do.

The species list from Tuesday the 23rd of may.

All events will be advertised on:

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