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Wanted – €400-a-week bird watcher

AN opportunity to spend the summer on a remote island off the Skerries coast monitoring seabirds has sparked a last-minute surge of interest.

Birdwatch Ireland was accepting applications up to noon today in a bid to find two people to live on Rockabill island, seven kilometres from the mainland.

And they were not short of willing participants, with "a few dozen" candidates expressing an interest, including "a flood" of applications after the advertisement went viral, Birdwatch development officer Niall Hatch said.

Birdwatch wants two suitably qualified people to spend three months on Rockabill Island – which is actually two islands The Rock and The Bill – to study and protect the stunning Roseate Tern.

The adventurous castaways will get paid of €400 a week and free accommodation but it is not a role for the faint-hearted.


The wardens, who don't need to be enthusiastic birdwatchers, will be perched for three months on top of the rocky outcrop of two tiny islands that are home to a working lighthouse, accommodation and "just enough room to stretch the legs".

Applicants can forget home comforts, the shops and the pub, and must be prepared for the company of thousands of seabirds.

The work entails the monitoring and protection of the migrant Roseate, as well as Common and Arctic Terns, during the May to August breeding season.

Birdwatch Ireland development officer Niall Hatch admits the work isn't for everyone but says it's a "feather in the cap" for anyone wishing to advance their careers in environmental or similar sciences.

"It's a job for somebody who comes from a biology or environmental science background or somebody who has a lot of experience in that field," Mr Hatch told the Herald.

Mr Hatch said Rockabill is "a magical place".

"When the sun is shining there and the weather is nice, it's gorgeous out there. When the weather is bad, it's pretty exposed," he added.