Ms Colleran's Fourth Class went on a very special tour this week. Blue skies, a vast river and the call of the wild greeted them. Where was this beautiful spot? Right on our doorstep! It's the Boyne Estuary in Mornington!
Barry Ussher bussed the boys down to the site near the ruins of the old Catholic church in Mornington village. That gave them a chance to have a ramble through history among the headstones of Mornington cemetery. And then it was on to the main business of the day: bird-watching.
A keen ornithologist, former principal Mr O Conghaile spent the whole afternoon with the class. Armed with binoculars and warmly dressed, they learnt a few key skills to great birdwatching: being still and patient. And, as the tide ebbed out along the estaury, the mudflats were revealed and an array of seabirds took up some favourite feeding spots along the waters' edge.
Redshank, greenshank, black headed gulls, cormorants and shelduck all came along to the party. The boys had already learnt a lot about the seabirds' habits from Mr O Conghaile's classroom presentation earlier in the week. They knew how the birds beak length for instance, determined what goodies he could wrangle from the wet sand. And why one bird-the cormorant-stood for ages with wings outstretched basking in the sun.
The returned to school bubbling with enthusiasm for wildlife, the estuary and their locality.
Mornington: we've got it all on our doorstep!
Our thanks to Barry Ussher and Mr O Conghaile for giving so freely of their services.