Meet The Team

The 2017 Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project team:
(contact us at 

Irene O'Sullivan (Day Warden)

Irene Sullivan graduated from University College Dublin with a BSc. in Zoology in 2016. She then spent seven months in Australia, spotting Hooded Plovers and Fairy Terns along the way, and upon her return to Ireland was delighted to get the opportunity to work with Irish counterparts such as Ringed Plovers and, of course, the wonderful Little Terns. She has assisted mist-netting sessions in Madagascar and worked as a falconer's assistant.

Irene is keen to learn all she can from fellow staff working on the project, and from the knowledgeable birders who visit the colony. As someone passionate about the conservation of Irish biodiversity, Irene hopes to contribute all she can to the protection and monitoring of Little Terns at Kilcoole.

Giles Christopher Johnson 
(Day Warden)

Chris is an experienced field ecologist, who gained much of his experience working across the savanna environments of Northern Australia. He has a BA and PhD from Trinity College Dublin: the latter focused on granivore relationships with intensive farming practices. Seabirds are new territory for him and he is delighted to be part of the Kilcoole Little Tern team.  

Andrew Butler (Relief Warden)

Andrew studied Marine Science in NUI Galway, graduating in 2006. Many moons ago he worked in Ecuador on a turtle nest monitoring project as well as a shark by-catch monitoring scheme. Since then Andrew went back to study a Masters in Coastal Management and Geographical Information Systems at UCC, graduating in 2010.

Not too long after the masters he started working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as an Education Guide in the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, where he worked seasonally over four years. Having always had an interest in birds, his knowledge base and field skills were honed and nurtured by the experts around him there. When the education aspect was quiet he got to help with Greenland White-fronted Goose catching, ringing and censuses, assist in seabird breeding surveys on Great Saltee and also Little Tern management and censuses in Wexford Harbour.

Since 2016, Andrew has been working on the BirdWatch Ireland tern projects, as warden at the Dalkey Islands colony (Common, Arctic and Roseate Tern) and as relief warden at the Kilcoole Little Tern colony. In between the tern project seasons, he has been working on other waterbird projects over the winter: studies of Malahide/Broadmeadow Estuary, a realigned area of Tramore back strand, tracking waders around Dublin Bay and ring reading.

Outside of work Andrew takes part in the CBS and I-WeBS volunteer surveys as well as continuing his ringing training and assisting in whatever field work he can get his hands on (mostly but not all bird related).

Andrew McManus (Volunteer)

Andrew is currently a Zoology student of Trinity College Dublin, graduating in 2018, with a keen interest in wildlife conservation. As a local, growing up in Kilcoole, a project involving the Little Tern colony here was the first idea which sprung to mind when asked to design a one for his thesis! 

Following completion of his experiment, he stayed with the project as a volunteer to lend a hand to the cause while gaining priceless skills, experience and knowledge from the wardens and other BirdWatch Ireland and NPWS staff.

Cole Macey (Night Warden)

Originally from Somerset, Cole came to Ireland on holiday in 1996 and never left! He has been involved in the management and conservation of wildlife his entire life with a background in game keeping, forestry, farming and as a park ranger. This year is Cole's tenth year as a night warden on the Kilcoole Little Tern project, where his main duties include overseeing the installation and maintenance of fencing, protecting the colony at night from mammalian predators and again from corvids early in the morning. He adheres religiously to the colony motto of "Always AlertAlways Ready!". Cole has also worked on BirdWatch Ireland projects on Tory Island, Co. Donegal and Puffin Island, Co. Kerry.

Dr. Steve Newton
 (Project Co-ordinator)

Dr. Steve Newton is a Senior Conservation Officer for BirdWatch Ireland. He is responsible for seabird research, monitoring and colony management. This comprises coordinating, on an annual basis, the Irish input to the Seabird Monitoring Programme (UK-Ireland) and managing the Rockabill Roseate Tern and the Kilcoole Little Tern Projects. Steve organised the first quantitative survey of nocturnal petrels and shearwaters on west coast islands in 2000-2001 as part of the Seabird 2000 Project. He was also responsible for managing the BWI/NPWS Chough Survey and follow-up research programme (2002 to 2010), the NPWS/BWI Upland Bird Survey (2002-2004), and other work on upland habitats and their birds, including Hen Harrier and Red Grouse. He is a member of the all-Ireland team responsible for the 'Birds of Conservation Concern' process which reviews the Red, Amber and Green lists for Ireland and is a member of the Irish Rare Breeding Birds Panel.