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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Guernsey 2010 Seabird season gets underway

Chris and Mish ringing Cormorants on Longue Pierre
Thanks to Dave Perrio three members of the Guernsey Seabird Team (Chris Mourant, Michelle Hooper and me) managed to get out to two of the islets making up The Humps - just north of Herm. We had the necessary permission to visit the islets to monitor the Great Cormorant colony on the Humps. Initially things looked poor when a sea mist meant we could not even see Herm from Guernsey's harbour. However, the mist cleared just before our early afternoon departure. With a light NE breeze sea conditions were a little bumpy, but thanks to Dave's seamanship he landed us on both Godin and Longue Pierre. For the past 20+ years all the Cormorants had been on Godin, but in 2009 they caught us out by also nesting on Longue Pierre.

Cormorant chicks on Longue Pierre
This is also the case in 2010 with c 20 active nests on both islets. It looks like an "early" season for cormorants as we were only able to ring about half the chicks - 21 in all.


Boat at Godin - Herm in background

Longue Pierre
It was also very good news for European Shag, which also appear to be nesting successfully and early. We do not normally ring Shag chicks until June, so 47 pulli ringed on this quick trip was a good total, and an encouraging sign that the 2010 season in the Bailiwick of Guernsey may be fairly productive for this species.

Ringing Shag chicks on Longue Pierre
Both islands also hosted 20+ pairs of Great Black-backed Gulls, and there were good  numbers of Common Guillemots on Longue Pierre.

Great Black-backed Gull nest Godin

A full write-up of this trip will appear on my web site ( in the next few days - under the Section Seabird Visits 2010.

Once again a big thank you to Dave for all his help in getting us out there.

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