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Displaying items by tag: Seabirds

6th September 2017

Sailors & Seabirds

Seabirds and sailors have a long history together. They are reputed to have guided lost sailors to land, led fishermen to catch fish and the sight of them has encouraged many a despairing sailor to realise that land is nearby. From the time a small bird, obviously tired, came out of nowhere to land on NCB Ireland when I was crewing aboard in the then Whitbread Round the World Race, I have been fascinated by how birds fly huge distances over the oceans. That bird stayed for over a day and we were anxious to feed and give it water. Then, sometime in the early dawn it left, heading for I know not where. The legendary Albatross is perhaps the most well-known bird of the seas. Whenever I am sailing in Cork Harbour and see birds dive out of the sky, plunging into and below the water to catch fish, I watch fascinated. When seagulls were being accused of attacking humans in their search for food, it was tme a sign of food lacking at sea as they came inland.

Birdwatch Ireland is the organisation which protects Ireland's birds and their habitats. Fintan Kelly, Policy Officer at Birdwatch, told me this week on the podcast below that one of the most troubling indications of the state of the broader marine environment comes from research carried out on the behaviour of seabirds, because they are excellent indicators of what is happening at and in the sea.

As I said at the outset, seabirds and humans have a long history together, but many species of seabirds are threatened by human activities, which all of us sailors should be concerned about. So I urge you to listen to what Fintan Kelly has to say. You might just think a lot more about the next birds you encounter at sea.

Listen to him on the podcast below where you can also hear how Lifeguards prevented 16,316 marine accidents and keep up with the pace of life on the offshore islands which is quite hectic.

Tom MacSweeney presents This Island Nation maritime programme

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tagged under

#MaritimeFestivals - The inaugural Cliffs of Moher Seabirds Festival will take place from 9 to 14 May at the famous Clare coastal attraction and in other locations around the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

Over 60,000 seabirds can be seen at the Cliffs of Moher during the breeding season, including puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwake and fulmar nesting a different levels of the cliffs.

The cliffs are a Special Protected Area for seabirds and are also home to other bird species such as peregrine falcons, choughs and ravens.

There is nowhere else on the mainland of Ireland where you can so easily see such a host of nesting seabirds from accessible viewing points on the grounds of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience or from the boat of the Cliffs of Moher cruises from Doolin.

The Cliffs of Moher Seabirds Festival aims to celebrate the presence of "our feathered fishy friends" with a programme of family-friendly activities including 'seabird bingo', guided birdwatching and flight demonstrations.

More details can be found HERE on the latest addition to Ireland's maritime festivals.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MarineWildlife - If you've ever wanted to get closer to Ireland's marine wildlife, a new series of weekend excursions in West Cork may be just the ticket.

The Southern Star reports on the 'Discover Wildlife Weekends' being run from Rosscarbery by local company Ireland's Wildlife starting this April, where those taking part will be led by expert guides to explore the coastal region and have the best opportunities to spot the many species of whales and dolphins that visit our shores.

Weather permitting, the weekends will also involve some offshore whale watching in the company of 'whale watch supremo' Colin Barnes and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.

And birdwatching will also be a feature, as West Cork is a hotspot for our feathered friends - from merlins and peregrine falcons to coastal waders and more exotic fowl that skirt our coasts on their spring migrations.

The Southern Star has much more on the story HERE.

Meanwhile, marine sector stakeholders have expressed their concerns over the designation of six new offshore marine areas by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the six sites at Blackwater Bank in Wexford, the West Connacht coast, Hempton's Turbot Bank in Donegal, the Porcupine Bank Canyon off Kerry, the South-East Rockall Bank, and the stretch from Rockabill to Dalkey Island off Dublin have been proposed for designation as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect marine habitats and species listed on the 1992 EU Habitats Directive.

But at a recent meeting at the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin, a coalition of fish farmers, fishermen and marine energy stakeholders have hit out at what they characterise as "the appalling handling of inshore designations since the 1990s by the State", which they claim "has resulted in hundreds of job losses and a flight of serious investment" from Ireland's coastal areas.

“Our experience of the Irish Government’s application of the EU Habitats Directive has been a saga of mismanagement, foot dragging and buck-passing which has left over 500 fish farming licences in limbo for over 10 years and a backlog of red tape and bureaucracy which could see producers waiting until 2020 and beyond for simple renewals which are vital to underpin their businesses," said IFA aquaculture executive Richie Flynn.

"These new offshore SACs will have the same effect of preventing any fishing, marine energy or aquaculture being carried out in these areas if left in the hands of the same agencies to manage."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Gorey Guardian reports that the bodies of two grey seals were found washed up last week on Booley Bay beach, near Fethard-on-Sea in Co Wexford.

The two seal pups were found in an emaciated and malnourished state by a beach walker on 27 November.

According to Irish Whale and Dolphin Group chair Kevin MacCormick, dead seal strandings are not unusual at this time of year, particularly after stormy weather, and grey seals have an especially high mortality rate.

Tramua wounds and blood found on the seals were put down to predation by seabirds.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Wildlife on Rathlin Island could be under threat if oil-drilling licences are awarded in the area, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
The north Antrim coast has been earmarked as a site for potential oil exploration in the latest round of British Government licensing, despite the area being designated as both a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.
Environmental experts have warned of the devastating effect that oil drilling could have on marine wildlife on Rathlin Island and the nearby coastline.
"We've seen off the coast of Aberdeenshire that no matter how careful the drilling, there is always the risk of a spill," said Claire Ferry of the RSPB.
"In this case the spill happened far away from any vulnerable wildlife colonies, but just imagine the impact if that oil was washing onto a globally important seabird colony."
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Wildlife on Rathlin Island could be under threat if oil-drilling licences are awarded in the area, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The north Antrim coast has been earmarked as a site for potential oil exploration in the latest round of British Government licensing, despite the area being designated as both a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.

Environmental experts have warned of the devastating effect that oil drilling could have on marine wildlife on Rathlin Island and the nearby coastline.

"We've seen off the coast of Aberdeenshire that no matter how careful the drilling, there is always the risk of a spill," said Claire Ferry of the RSPB.

"In this case the spill happened far away from any vulnerable wildlife colonies, but just imagine the impact if that oil was washing onto a globally important seabird colony."

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The public will have greater access to see shipping activity in the Port of Dublin, when a new boat-based tour of the country's busiest port starts tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Titled the River Liffey & Port Tour, the 45-minute excursion is a partnership between Sea Safari Tours and the Dublin Port Company. Tours will operate from the pontoon where the M.V. Cill Airne floating river-restaurant and bar venue is berthed at the North Wall Quay. Cill Airne was built in the Liffey Dockyard nearly fifty years ago, where she forms part of the tours audio commentary covering the history and the present day.

In addition to cruising this stretch of the River Liffey alongside the 'Docklands' quarter, the tour RIB boat will pass downriver through the East-Link toll bridge where visitors will get closer views of the variety of vessels and calling cruise liners from other ports throughout the world.

There will be five daily tours beginning at 10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm.Tickets cost €15.00 for adults, €12.50 for students and the charge for senior citizens and children is €10.00.

In addition Sea Safari operate a 'River Liffey' only tour, a Dublin Bay 'North' and 'South' tours which visit Howth Head, Baily Lighthouse, Ireland's Eye and to Dalkey Island and Killiney Bay, where both bay tours provide a chance to spot local marine wildlife of seals, porpoises and sea birds.

Published in Dublin Port
A new EU-funded project is tracking the movements of seabirds along the Atlantic coastlines of Ireland, the UK, France, Spain and Portugal.
The Future of the Atlantic Marine Environment (FAME) project aims to pinpoint areas that are important for Europe's seabirds. This knowledge may assist in the selection of marine conservation areas to protect declining species.
According to Surfbirds News, the researchers are taping tiny GPS trackers to the backs of seabirds, allowing the scientists to accurately pinpoint their movements between the birds' nesting colonies and the areas of sea they use to find food.
"Up to know we've known very little about the movements of these birds when they venture out to sea to find food," said seabird scientist Dr Ellie Owen. "But now, just when these birds need our help, we're on the cusp of filling this information void with vitally-important data."
Surfbird News has more on the story HERE.

A new EU-funded project is tracking the movements of seabirds along the Atlantic coastlines of Ireland, the UK, France, Spain and Portugal.

The Future of the Atlantic Marine Environment (FAME) project aims to pinpoint areas that are important for Europe's seabirds. This knowledge may assist in the selection of marine conservation areas to protect declining species.

According to Surfbirds News, the researchers are taping tiny GPS trackers to the backs of seabirds, allowing the scientists to accurately pinpoint their movements between the birds' nesting colonies and the areas of sea they use to find food.

"Up to now we've known very little about the movements of these birds when they venture out to sea to find food," said seabird scientist Dr Ellie Owen. "But now, just when these birds need our help, we're on the cusp of filling this information void with vitally-important data."

Surfbirds News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Fastnet Line which runs the Cork-Swansea port route on the Celtic Sea, is assisting the charity MarineLife to monitor cetaceans, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The work of MarineLife is to survey the population trends and track the movements of dolphins, whales, porpoises and other wildlife. The research is undertaken onboard Fastnet Line's Julia (1981/21,699grt) and access to the ferry is provided free-of-charge to the wildlife-based charity.

During the months of July and August the ferry's schedule will allow for further opportunities to conduct daylight sightings of marine-life which is to be posted on MarineLife and Fastnet Line websites.

Adrian Shephard, Chairman of MarineLife Trustees, said: "The route from Swansea to Cork crosses a range of marine habitats and we hope it will generate many sightings of cetaceans and seabirds, including two important species we monitor, the white-beaked dolphin and the balearic shearwater".

In addition monitors recently observed fin whales, the second largest whale on the planet. Such sightings provide vital information and this will contribute to a better understanding of the distribution of cetaceans and other marine life in the Celtic Sea. To read more www.marine-life.org.uk

The first of four summertime surveys is to take place on 10 July. Overall the research by MarineLife is part of a larger project which also involves the use of other ferries operating in the Irish Sea and those serving on UK continental routes.

The 1,500 passenger / 325 car-carrying Julia sails year-round six times a week between September to June and from next month and during August the vessel will provide eight sailings per week. For fares and sailings schedules contact www.fastnetline.com

Published in Marine Science

About Dublin Port 

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with the capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructures such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

Dublin Port FAQ

Dublin was little more than a monastic settlement until the Norse invasion in the 8th and 9th centuries when they selected the Liffey Estuary as their point of entry to the country as it provided relatively easy access to the central plains of Ireland. Trading with England and Europe followed which required port facilities, so the development of Dublin Port is inextricably linked to the development of Dublin City, so it is fair to say the origins of the Port go back over one thousand years. As a result, the modern organisation Dublin Port has a long and remarkable history, dating back over 300 years from 1707.

The original Port of Dublin was situated upriver, a few miles from its current location near the modern Civic Offices at Wood Quay and close to Christchurch Cathedral. The Port remained close to that area until the new Custom House opened in the 1790s. In medieval times Dublin shipped cattle hides to Britain and the continent, and the returning ships carried wine, pottery and other goods.

510 acres. The modern Dublin Port is located either side of the River Liffey, out to its mouth. On the north side of the river, the central part (205 hectares or 510 acres) of the Port lies at the end of East Wall and North Wall, from Alexandra Quay.

Dublin Port Company is a State-owned commercial company responsible for operating and developing Dublin Port.

Dublin Port Company is a self-financing, and profitable private limited company wholly-owned by the State, whose business is to manage Dublin Port, Ireland's premier Port. Established as a corporate entity in 1997, Dublin Port Company is responsible for the management, control, operation and development of the Port.

Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny of the Bounty fame) was a visitor to Dublin in 1800, and his visit to the capital had a lasting effect on the Port. Bligh's study of the currents in Dublin Bay provided the basis for the construction of the North Wall. This undertaking led to the growth of Bull Island to its present size.

Yes. Dublin Port is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland. It handles almost 50% of all trade in the Republic of Ireland.

All cargo handling activities being carried out by private sector companies operating in intensely competitive markets within the Port. Dublin Port Company provides world-class facilities, services, accommodation and lands in the harbour for ships, goods and passengers.

Eamonn O'Reilly is the Dublin Port Chief Executive.

Capt. Michael McKenna is the Dublin Port Harbour Master

In 2019, 1,949,229 people came through the Port.

In 2019, there were 158 cruise liner visits.

In 2019, 9.4 million gross tonnes of exports were handled by Dublin Port.

In 2019, there were 7,898 ship arrivals.

In 2019, there was a gross tonnage of 38.1 million.

In 2019, there were 559,506 tourist vehicles.

There were 98,897 lorries in 2019

Boats can navigate the River Liffey into Dublin by using the navigational guidelines. Find the guidelines on this page here.

VHF channel 12. Commercial vessels using Dublin Port or Dun Laoghaire Port typically have a qualified pilot or certified master with proven local knowledge on board. They "listen out" on VHF channel 12 when in Dublin Port's jurisdiction.

A Dublin Bay webcam showing the south of the Bay at Dun Laoghaire and a distant view of Dublin Port Shipping is here
Dublin Port is creating a distributed museum on its lands in Dublin City.
 A Liffey Tolka Project cycle and pedestrian way is the key to link the elements of this distributed museum together.  The distributed museum starts at the Diving Bell and, over the course of 6.3km, will give Dubliners a real sense of the City, the Port and the Bay.  For visitors, it will be a unique eye-opening stroll and vista through and alongside one of Europe’s busiest ports:  Diving Bell along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, past the Scherzer Bridge and down the North Wall Quay campshire to Berth 18 - 1.2 km.   Liffey Tolka Project - Tree-lined pedestrian and cycle route between the River Liffey and the Tolka Estuary - 1.4 km with a 300-metre spur along Alexandra Road to The Pumphouse (to be completed by Q1 2021) and another 200 metres to The Flour Mill.   Tolka Estuary Greenway - Construction of Phase 1 (1.9 km) starts in December 2020 and will be completed by Spring 2022.  Phase 2 (1.3 km) will be delivered within the following five years.  The Pumphouse is a heritage zone being created as part of the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project.  The first phase of 1.6 acres will be completed in early 2021 and will include historical port equipment and buildings and a large open space for exhibitions and performances.  It will be expanded in a subsequent phase to incorporate the Victorian Graving Dock No. 1 which will be excavated and revealed. 
 The largest component of the distributed museum will be The Flour Mill.  This involves the redevelopment of the former Odlums Flour Mill on Alexandra Road based on a masterplan completed by Grafton Architects to provide a mix of port operational uses, a National Maritime Archive, two 300 seat performance venues, working and studio spaces for artists and exhibition spaces.   The Flour Mill will be developed in stages over the remaining twenty years of Masterplan 2040 alongside major port infrastructure projects.

Source: Dublin Port Company ©Afloat 2020. 

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