Seabird and seal

Blackstaff Ecology staff have conducted numerous Coastal, Seabird and Seal surveys throughout Northern Ireland and further afield.

These have been as part of ongoing WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey), National Trust/NIEA monitoring (seals along the County Down coast) and one-off surveys. While most of this work had been conducted on a voluntary basis our staff have experience of using the following Surveillance and Monitoring methods.

  1. Breeding Colony Surveys
  2. Population counts
  3. Transect Surveys
  4. Visual Surveys

In addition to this we have our own RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat), a Redbay Stormforce 6.1m (commercially coded for 4 people (MCA) to undertake such work, without the requirement to hire in a boat and skipper for the survey. Our staff have the relevant RYA advanced powerboat training, safety equipment and experience to operate safely within 20 miles of the UK or Irish coastline.

Experience of marine surveys carried out include

Firth of Forth: Study to assess use made of the sea area to be affected by a proposed new road bridge by terns breeding in the Firth of Forth Islands SPA;

Isle of Man: Shore-based study of seabirds using sea area likely to be affected by a proposed long sewage outfall:

The Gobbins, Co Antrim: Boat-based counts of cliff-nesting seabird colony.

Voluntary surveys carried out include

  • Larne Lough: WeBS counts of Larne Lough SPA;
  • Belfast Lough:WeBS counts of Belfast Lough SPA; and
  • Outer Ards: WeBS counts of Outer Ards SPA.
  • Carlingford Lough: WeBS counts of Carlingford SPA
  • Dundrum Inner Bay: WeBS counts of Murlough SAC

North Channel: Ship-based transects between Larne and Cairnryan with intensive watches for cetaceans and incidental seabird records.