The weather continues to make completion of the seabird monitoring this year very difficult, and as the days and weeks pass more and more information is lost as the young birds begin to fledge unrecorded. Notwithstanding this the small Guernsey Seabird Team continues to do its best. Over the past week some gull monitoring has been done around Guernsey and in Sark. This is confirming the pattern showing earlier where Great Black-backed Gulls (one of the top local marine predators) appear to have had a very poor season, while Herring Gulls show a mixed result with some colonies producing a reasonable number of young while others very largely fail. It's still too early to confirm the position with Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Most Shags have now fledged - a moderate season with general productivity and broods of one or two chicks in most active nests (but hardly any threes). Cormorants bred early again and were successful. No recording of auks has been done this season. When the season is over I'll put a link to all the Seabird Trip Write-ups.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
A trip to Chouet Landfill Beach early this morning resulted in around150 gull ring reads, and the opportunity to take some close up photos. Amongst the gulls was a single 2nd summer Yellow-legged Gull. Yesterday Chris Mourant and I took the opportunity to continue the 2012 gull monitoring around Guernsey, by ringing another 29 chicks - 17 Herring and 12 Great Black-backed Gulls.
2nd Summer Yellow-legged Gull
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
In what is turning out to be a difficult season for ringing gulls, largely because of the highly unpredictable weather, Jamie and Mish Hooper and I took the opportunity on Monday (with the necessary permissions) to undertake the annual seabird monitoring in Jethou. The results were interesting with signs of European Shag having a reasonably productive breeding season. We only ringed 36 chicks, but the majority of young had already fledged and we did not visit Grande Fauconniere at all. Great Black-backed Gulls appear to have fared poorly though with only seven chicks ringed (and one fledged bird seen on the wing). Herring Gulls once again showed a modest season, with some colonies (e.g. Grande Fauconniere Beach) almost completely deserted, while others (such as the house colony) had chicks that were two thirds fledged. 48 Herring Gull pulli were ringed, almost all with colour rings. 17 Puffins were recorded offshore.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Chris Mourant, James Allison (the AWT Assistant Ecologist for 2012) and I have just come back from the annual trip to colour ring a sample of the breeding adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Burhou, Alderney. This was the fourth such annual trip, and was by far the most testing from a number of angles! The wet and windy early summer has made getting onto Burhou very difficult (thanks again to Roland Gauvain Manager of the AWT for getting us there!), and events meant that we were a few days later than usual in any case. Arriving on Alderney I managed to pull a muscle in my lower back almost immediately, which put my visit to Burhou in doubt for 12 hours or so!
Then landing on the island we managed to drop two of the six traps into the sea...never to be seen again. All in all things weren't proceeding too well! Then the weather got windy and cool, restricting our ringing efforts.
However...notwithstanding these problems, Chris, James and I worked hard, when it was possible, and we did manage to colour ring another 51 adult LBBGs, as well as re-trapping two adults ringed in 2009. Four of the birds caught already carried metal rings fitted when they were chicks on Burhou in the 2000s.
Chris and James also managed to monitor the Shag nests and ring 27 chicks, while I took the opportunity to take the telescope out and record colour ringed gulls...with considerable success. I haven't had the opportunity to analyse the 60+ records taken yet, but what was really superb was the fact that immature birds ringed as chicks in the colony in both 2009 and 2010 were much in evidence!
Saturday, June 9, 2012
With a rising tide this morning, it was wonderful to be at Chouet to enjoy some more close encounters with my colour ringed gulls. Around 200 ring reads were recorded, and photos were taken of some of the gulls which were newly ringed during the cannon netting session last month.