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Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Seabird Season Commences

The Guernsey Seabird Team made its first trip out to monitor the breeding seabirds on The Humps (a small collection of tiny islets north of Herm) yesterday afternoon. To minimise disturbance to the breeding seabirds, visits during the seabird breeding season to these islets are not allowed except with permission for the annual Seabird Monitoring Programme. We landed briefly on two of the islets to monitor the breeding Cormorants.  The first landing was on Godin, where it was obvious that the Cormorants had bred both early and successfully. Around 25 active nests were counted, and 60+ chicks observed (one of the most successful seasons seen). However, many of the chicks were very large, some had actually fledged...which is remarkably early for Guernsey! 23 Cormorant and one Shag chicks were ringed.

Last year the Cormorant colony split with just under half the birds nesting on nearby Longue Pierre, but this year all the birds are once agan on Godin. Most of the Shag are nesting on Longue Pierre this year. It does not look like a "bumper year" for this species, but again it is an early season. 44 Shag chicks were ringed, which is many more than would normally be expected on such an early visit. c 40 Shag nests were counted on Longue Pierre and 15 nests on Godin.

All in all a rather promising start to the 2011 Seabird Monitoring Programme.
Great Cormorant chicks on Godin - PKV
Godin - PKV
Ringing Cormorant chicks - Godin PKV
Shag Chicks Longue Pierre - PKV
Herring Gull nest Longue Pierre - PKV
Adult Common Guillemot Longue Pierre - PKV

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