Seabird Colony Work

Summer is almost over in Europe (was it ever here in Ireland though?) and I finally have some desk time to keep you all updated on our Seabird/Marine Litter work. I’ve acquired a license to work on the seabird colonies over the Summer and collect some samples for my PhD project. As most of you is aware, I am studying plastic litter ingestion by seabirds and how that can be used to monitor marine litter and influence policy, and there are different ways to approach/tackle this research. As pollutants are known to be more readily adsorbed on the surface of marine plastic litter, we wanted to look at the contaminants load present in ‘Irish’ seabirds. I had the chance to visit some really nice breeding colonies, work with some really nice people, along with BirdWatch Ireland and collect samples such as feathers and preen oil from different species of seabirds. As the birds are ringed, they might spontaneously regurgitate stomach contents, as a defense mecanism or a reaction to stress. I took advantage of that and collected regurgitates for our plastics research. And of course, I collected eventual carcasses found around the colonies, being that adults or juveniles.

Now I have loads of lab work to be done over the next few cold months, but that should give us some interesting results and I can’t wait to find out! A huge thanks to everyone who has helped me over the Summer with the field work, especially BirdWatch Ireland, Niall Keogh and my supervisor Ian O’Connor.

Also, our Beached Bird Surveys are still running. As the weather gets a bit rougher with the end of the Summer, we should have a few more seabird ‘casualties’. They have reduced a little over the Summer, but I was still able to get some beached birds now and again. Thanks to all the great volunteers all over the ROI. Please, keep an eye on your regular beaches and report/collect any suitable seabird carcasses you may come across. It’s for a good cause 🙂

Now I’ll leave you all with a nice photo summary of the colony work!

Many auks at Lambay Island - ©HeidiAcampora

Many auks at Lambay Island – ©HeidiAcampora

A closer look at guillemots at Lambay Island - ©HeidiAcampora

A closer look at guillemots at Lambay Island – ©HeidiAcampora

A bridled guillemot at Lambay Island - ©HeidiAcampora

A bridled guillemot at Lambay Island – ©HeidiAcampora

A few Razorbills at Lambay Island - ©Heidi Acampora

A few Razorbills at Lambay Island – ©Heidi Acampora

A Northern Fulmar at Lambay Island - ©HeidiAcampora

A Northern Fulmar at Lambay Island – ©HeidiAcampora

Yep. Still in Ireland. Wallabies have been brought by men to Lambay Island many years ago and have successfully reproduced and established a small population - ©HeidiAcampora

Yep. Still in Ireland. Wallabies have been brought by men to Lambay Island many years ago and have successfully reproduced and established a small population – ©HeidiAcampora

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A Great Black-backed Gull chick in nest at Lambay Island- ©HeidiAcampora

Rockabill Island seen from the Bill. It is home to the largest tern colony in Europe - ©HeidiAcampora

Rockabill Island seen from the Bill. It is home to the largest tern colony in Europe – ©HeidiAcampora

Terns flying over the lighthouse at Rockabill Island - ©HeidiAcampora

Terns flying over the lighthouse at Rockabill Island – ©HeidiAcampora

The sign says it all at Rockabill Island - ©HeidiAcampora

The sign says it all at Rockabill Island – ©HeidiAcampora

Tern fledglings fill the helipad at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

Tern fledglings fill the helipad at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

Lots of work being done at Rockabill Island - ©HeidiAcampora

Lots of work being done at Rockabill Island – ©NiallKeogh

Team work with the Rockabill wardens Brian Burke and Andrew Power - ©NiallKeogh

Team work with the Rockabill wardens Brian Burke and Andrew Power – ©NiallKeogh

A common tern close up at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

A common tern close up at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

Myself looking very pleased sampling a Roseate Tern at Rockabill - ©BrianBurke

Myself looking very pleased sampling a Roseate Tern at Rockabill – ©BrianBurke

Some black guillemots and kittiwakes at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

Some black guillemots and kittiwakes at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

Common tern parent and chick at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

Common tern parent and chick at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

Kittiwake families enjoying the sunny Saturday at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

Kittiwake families enjoying the sunny Saturday at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

A sleepy common tern chick at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

A sleepy common tern chick at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

Some grey seal pups enjoy the rare sunny weather at Rockabill - ©HeidiAcampora

Some grey seal pups enjoy the rare sunny weather at Rockabill – ©HeidiAcampora

Gannet colony at Great Saltee Island - ©HeidiAcampora

Gannet colony at Great Saltee Island – ©HeidiAcampora

A Northern Fulmar chick looking pleased after regurgitating on us at Great Saltee Island - ©HeidiAcampora

A Northern Fulmar chick looking pleased after regurgitating on us at Great Saltee Island – ©HeidiAcampora

Night sampling Storm Petrels at Portacloy - ©HeidiAcampora

Night sampling Storm Petrels at Portacloy – ©NiallKeogh

Published by Heidi Acampora

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One thought on “Seabird Colony Work

  1. Pingback: Marine Plastic Pollution

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