PROJECT 1 National surveys of threatened/priority species Project: National Surveys of Red-billed Chough and Curlew
In 2021 KRC Ecological Ltd. carried out national surveys of Red-billed Chough and Curlew across Ireland under contract to NPWS. With support from a specialist team at ALC Nature, these projects covered almost every county in Ireland, involved co-ordination of over 20 fieldworkers from April – August.
Securing these contracts with ALC Nature benefitted from considerable experience in (1) co-ordination of national single- or multi-species surveys with professional and ‘amateur’ surveyors (e.g. Kendrew used to co-ordinate the national waterbird monitoring scheme form 1998 to 2002), and (2) species-specific experience of both Chough and Curlew - Kendrew undertook studies Chough in Islay, Spain, Wales and Ireland previously and runs several wintering and breeding season Curlew research and intervention projects across Ireland for >10 years.
Curlew – picture copyright James O’Neill
Both on-going projects involve co-ordinating coverage with various NPWS project teams and/or regional conservation staff, volunteers and professional contract fieldworkers. In both cases, the projects are designed to collect information on distribution and trends, assess pressures and threats, habitat usage and availability, and aspects of nesting ecology and productivity. Outputs will take the form of Irish Wildlife Manuals for NPWS and published scientific papers, aimed to provide the evidence and data for conservation planning.
Red-billed Chough – picture copyright Kendrew Colhoun
PROJECT 2 Specialist surveys of breeding seabirds remote islands off NW Mayo
In July 2021, a small adventurous team undertook the most comprehensive surveys of Ireland’s rarest breeding seabird – the Leach’s Storm Petrel – at their only known haunts in north and west Mayo. KRC Ecological under contract to NPWS surveyed the very inaccessible Stags of Broadhaven, Bills Rocks and other remote islands in unusually calm seas! The analysis, which is currently underway, uses Hierarchical Distance Sampling statistical models based on repeated plot playback methods to estimate the population sizes of these cryptic birds. The good news is we recorded Leach’s Petrels on both islands, surveyed the habitats extensively and had an amazing team doing the work in an incredible part of the Irish coastline!
The Stags of Broadhaven – probably the most inaccessible of all Irish islands. We climbed/surveyed these in July 2021 – they hold Ireland’s largest colony of its rarest breeding seabird – the Leach’s Storm Petrel
Surveying seabirds along the relatively untouched north Mayo coast – picture copyright Kendrew Colhoun
A high resolution 3d orthorectified image taken of the Stags of Broadhaven – created using UAVs this was done primarily to calculate the surface area of suitable nesting habitat to estimate population size and distribution – image copyright John Meneely.
Burrow-nesting seabird surveys on islands off N Mayo 2021 – photo copyright Kendrew Colhoun
Seabird surveys on islands off N Mayo 2021 – photo copyright Kendrew Colhoun
Breeding puffins – photo copyright Kendrew Colhoun