It was wonderful to see so many young gulls...the Class of 2013...beginning to fledge on Lihou today. Several were already confident on the wing, while many were with their parents in the inter-tidal zone. It's many years since I've seen so many young gulls at this time of year. The next few weeks will still be critical for them...but it looks like a pretty good season for productivity in both Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls - the best for at least five years...and probably longer. Credit must got to the States Environment Department both for controlling rats on the island over the past two winters (there is strong evidence that the presence of rats in seabird colonies significantly decreases productivity) and also for roping off the sensitive nesting areas on the island during the breeding season.