The priority so far this summer has been in progressing the first National Seabird Census count in the Bailiwick of Guernsey for 15 years. With previous British national counts in 1970 (Operation Seafarer), 1986-1992 (the Seabird Colony Register) and 1998-2001 (Seabird 2000), few populations of seabirds in the Bailiwick have been systematically counted for a long time. This data is vital for establishing and monitoring conservation measures that may be needed to protect our important seabird populations.
With the field work in Guernsey, Sark, Herm, Jethou and offshore islands being done by only a handful of dedicated volunteers it has proved to be very hard (but rewarding ) work.
While some species will need to be counted next year (e.g. Common Tern and Manx Shearwater) the early results flowing in are shattering some of our more subjective views about what has been going on with our seabirds.
At last we now have up to date hard data on our populations which can be used in policy making. This must be one of the most valuable pieces of ornithological fieldwork carried out in very many years in the Islands – so very well done to the hardy few who have made it all possible!
Photos to follow in due course.