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2020 produced a blended bag for Northern Ireland’s seabirds however confirmed the significance of the nation’s shoreline for its 20 breeding seabird species. Volunteer-led monitoring of seabirds was severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, however surveys carried out by the National Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds revealed that tern colonies round Northern Ireland had a catastrophic 12 months, with Sandwich and Common Terns experiencing a few of their lowest numbers since data started.

However, regardless of declines in terns, many seabirds had an excellent breeding season. 2020 was a file 12 months for Guillemots on Muck Island, with Ulster Wildlife recording 3,107 people current on the colony final summer season, the very best quantity counted for the reason that first file in 1987.

Despite Black-legged Kittiwake populations experiencing a long-term decline within the UK as an entire, in Northern Ireland the decline is at a a lot slower fee, with some colonies really exhibiting a rise. In specific, Kittiwakes are going from energy to energy in south Co. Down, with the colony there rising in every 12 months since 2015 (from 483 pairs to 717 pairs). Also in Co. Down, fortunate volunteers have been in a position to observe the breeding success of a colony of twenty-two pairs of Black Guillemots as they raised 11 younger birds reverse their home in the course of the lockdown. These good information tales for Northern Irish seabirds are solely doable to report as a result of devoted efforts of our Seabird Network volunteers 12 months after 12 months.

Kittiwake, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries

Dr Katherine Booth Jones, Northern Ireland Seabird Coordinator for the BTO, says, “The Northern Ireland Seabird Network is a particular collaboration between volunteer seabird surveyors, the BTO, NIEA, RSPB and the National Trust, with out whom we might not observe the fates of our seabirds in these altering occasions. While we have now seen winners and losers in 2020, seabird counts at colonies can fluctuate year-to-year relying on climate situations and timings, which makes the annual recording of seabird numbers by our volunteers notably beneficial to seize long-term adjustments in Northern Ireland.”

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Dr Neil McCulloch, Ornithologist for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, says, “Seabirds type an vital element of Northern Ireland’s biodiversity. These species are at present below stress all through western Europe from quite a lot of threats, together with the results of local weather change and air pollution, and several other are in decline. Up up to now data on adjustments in seabird numbers and breeding success are important for planning conservation motion. We are due to this fact extraordinarily lucky in Northern Ireland that these information can be found for a lot of our shoreline by means of the efforts of the numerous devoted volunteers and accomplice organisations of the Northern Ireland Seabird Network. It is an impressive instance of the advantages of citizen science”.

If you have an interest in seabird monitoring in Northern Ireland or getting concerned in a one-off survey for the ultimate 12 months of the Seabirds Count census, please get in contact with the Seabird Coordinator (katherine.boothjones@bto.org (mailto:katherine.boothjones@bto.org) ) to be added to the Northern Ireland Seabird Network. You may discover some easy introductions to monitoring widespread species in Northern Ireland within the following Google Drive on-line:
https://bit.ly/NI_Seabird_Guidance, that are additionally accessible on request from the Seabird Coordinator.

The Northern Ireland Seabird Report 2020 carries the newest updates for the entire 20 seabirds that breed in Northern Ireland. To learn the total report
www.bto.org/seabird-report.

Source www.surfbirds.com