IT can sometimes be difficult to find that perfect spot on busy summer days at Curracloe. Well, the public are now being asked to spare a thought for Little Terns who are trying to find nesting spots along one of Ireland's best loved beaches.
Among Europe's rarest seabirds, Little Terns have been identified nesting at the eastern edge of the beach at Curracloe, covering an area just over 1 hectare in size. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have leapt into action and have erected a number of signs requesting that visitors to Curracloe beach and Raven Point avoid particular areas to give these rare birds a chance to hatch their eggs and rear their chicks without disturbance.
Unfortunately as the eggs and chicks are so well camouflaged amongst the shells on the beach, they can be easily walked on, or by flushing sitting birds from the nest, it exposes the eggs and chicks to predation by foxes, gulls and crows. They are also at risk from dogs who may not only disturb the adults, but also pick up eggs or chicks. NWPS say that, for this reason, it’s vital that dogs are kept on leads in these areas.
In the past Little Terns have made their nests on the offshore sand banks and it is thought that they may have been over washed by waves at these locations and decided to try new sites instead. The public are asked to be mindful of the Little Terns when visiting these areas and the NWPS thank beachgoers in advance for helping them to protect these rare seabirds.