Trip Report: Ireland's Eye 23 June 2007

Thanks to our very talented Tolka Branch photographers we are able to bring you a photo record of some of the birds seen on our trip to Irelands' Eye.

 Photos Mir Harris, John Fox, Pat Lenihan, Mike Trewby, Bill Quinn. Text John Hammond

Left :Great Black- backed Gull chicks
Above: Kittiwakes



Left: Ringed Plover
Above: the Ringed Plover's Eggs



Above: Cormorant on nest. Right: Razorbill and Chick

Above: Kittiwakes on nest. Right: Shag with 4 chicks

Left : Fulmar

Above: Gannet

Great Black-backed Gull and chick

The poor weather this June had us quite concerned for the regular trip to Ireland's Eye. But Saturday morning proved to be fresh and rain-free. A group of 26 set out on the ferry at 10:00am and were first treated to close views of the Black Guillemots that nest in the harbour wall. The boatman took us around by the stacks on the way so we got great views of Gannets many carrying nesting material back up to their sites. The approach of the boat caused many small groups of Razorbills and Guillemots to disperse. As we rounded the stacks individual Puffins were to be seen scatted along under the cliff. We counted at least a dozen. Oystercatchers were to be seen nesting near the Martello tower as we docked. They had two chicks with an egg still in the nest. At this point the group of ringers, led by Oscar Merne, split from the main group and headed to the Cormorant colony to ring young birds as this is on the outer rocks and only accessible at low tide.

 As usual the Great Black-backed Gulls were not amused by our presence as we climbed up to the north-west cliff. From here we had excellent views of Fulmars and Kittiwakes, all sitting on the nests, leaving and arriving and generally making lots of noise. Lower on the cliff Razorbills could be seen feeding chicks and among the Guillemots a Bridled Guillemot was spotted. The occasional Puffin could be seen at the edge of the grassy back near the cliff top. The ground was quite wet and so it was decided to walk around the island, by the beach, rather than climb over the high centre. There were plenty more Oystercatchers disturbed by our presence and at the east end of the beach individual Ringed Plovers were to be seen, very well camouflaged between the stones and seaweed and sand mix of this beach. A Common Seal was basking on the rocky point. At this stage we could now see the ringing group at the Cormorant colony. Heading north as the cliffs start to rise we came across what could only be described as a crèche for young Great Back-backed Gulls.Some Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also seen further along and more Kittiwakes were nesting in crevasses. Nearing the stacks we spotted a Peregrine Falcon circling, but it did not seem to bother the seabird colonies. The view from the island's north-east cliff gave great views looking down on the Gannet colony. There were also some Herring Gulls to be found here, as well as more Great Back-backed. With the weather forecast for rain in the afternoon and it clearly visible over the Dublin Mountains it was  decided to return to the boat for 2:00pm. So ends the final Tolka Branch Trip for this season. We'll be back with our outing to Swords Estuary in September.
John Hammond




















Left: Common Seal
Above: Puffin



Above: Tolka Branchers on Ireland's Eye
Right: Sunset over Dublin from Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye