Nesting boxes to attract more black guillemots

One of the guillemot boxes at the pier. INCT 10-757-CON
One of the guillemot boxes at the pier. INCT 10-757-CON

Purpose-built homes have been constructed at Carrickergus waterfront for breeding pairs of black guillemots.

Marina and Parks staff, Dave Comer, Nigel Thompson, Ryan Hack and Alison Diver Diver, took to the seas on Thursday of last week to install a number of nesting boxes around the pier.

Nigel Thompson, Ryan Hack and Dave Comer installed the nesting boxes at the maritime area. INCT 10-758-CON

Nigel Thompson, Ryan Hack and Dave Comer installed the nesting boxes at the maritime area. INCT 10-758-CON

The units were kindly donated by Peter Scott, senior berthing master at Bangor Mania, who has been involved in a guillemot next box scheme in North Down for a number of years.

Alison explained: “The nest boxes are designed specifically for guillemots and the entrances are too small for other birds in the area, such as seagulls, to use.

“Black guillemots are a species of Auk. Adult birds have black bodies with a white wing patch and red legs and feet. They eat fish and crustaceans and make their nests amongst boulders at the base of cliffs, in rock crevices and in man made structures, such as piers.

“The species is currently amber-listed due to concerns over the decline in population. The main limiting factor for these birds is safe, secure nesting places, which is where the guillemot boxes come in.

“There are currently three breeding pairs in Carrickfergus and we are hoping to attract more with the nest boxes.”

The recently launched Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) document sets out how biodiversity within the region can be protected and enhanced for the benefit of all and encourages everyone to make the urban environment more attractive for wildlife.

Installing the guillemot boxes, Alison noted, is another example of how Carrickfergus Borough Council is striving to do so.

For more information on the guillemot nest boxes, on biodiversity, or on the Biodiversity Action Plan, visit: http://www.carrickfergus.org/environment/biodiversity