Now that the terns have finally left to head back to Africa and beyond, volunteers have been making sure that the tern nesting islands get a good clean. As you can imagine, after a few months of non stop nesting the islands have plenty of debris left behind on them that needs to be removed. Our intrepid volunteers put on their waders and headed off through the mud to the islands, clearing an impressive amount of 9 bags full of old nesting material just from the smaller of the two islands!
Volunteers out on the small tern island, clearing up nesting debris
This sort of work can only be done at low tide when there are fewer birds using the lagoon, to minimise disturbance to them. So while the tide has been high volunteers have also been clearing pathways for some new stretches of electric fencing around the reserve. This new fencing will be put in place while the development works are happening here at the reserve, and will hopefully mean that the reserve remains protected from foxes, as these animals can do a lot of damage to the valuable breeding bird populations at the reserve, such as Common Terns and Lapwings.
Yesterday we also had a visit from a cheeky Grey Heron, who strutted up and down the Observation Room window for a good 10 minutes, posing for photos and picking insects from the windows (maybe that means we could employ him as a window cleaner!!).He provided great entertainment for staff, visitors and volunteers alike, as everyone rushed to get their cameras out.
The heron spent a lot of time peering through the window at his admirers...or maybe he was just checking his reflection!
Striking a pose!
Well its not every day you get to see a heron quite so close, and you never know what you might see here at the reserve, so come on down and take a look!
Hope to see you soon.
The Team at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve
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