Saturday 14 June 2014

Skokholm Bird Obs....Seabirds and more...

The Manx Shearwaters are Skokholm Island's most iconic bird, and surveying this important colony is a large task.........but great fun.
Here we are playing the call of a male down each burrow in one of  the study plots and awaiting the reply from a male....or not if a female present. for more details see here

Wendy and I have just returned from spending a week on the island and here is a selection of further activities we have been involved with.
Oystercatchers ...
Juvenile Oystercatchers were proving difficult to find, hiding down burrows is an effective defence against gulls.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls...
Reading yellow darvics, became part of our daily routine, this part of an experiment for the BTO, who are tracking their feeding movements with data loggers. see here

Great Black-backed Gulls...
Adults have been marked with red darvic rings, just the start of a RAS project amongst the 85 pairs this year. The ringing of juveniles will help monitor the colony when hopefully they will return as breeders in a few years time.

General migration...
Heligoland Traps and mist nets (weather permitting) were checked regularly. Lucky for us Brian opened and did all the early...and most often all the morning checks. A very quiet week for migration as expected for June, but surprising no scarce or rare migrants...

Guests to Skokholm Island
Wardens, Richard & Giselle with Will, the Storm Petrel researcher took all the guests down to the main Storm Petrel colony in the Quarry to watch petrel activity in the dark. After a fascinating 20 minutes watching the action, back to the cliff top and the main transect to watch the ringing of Manx Shearwaters.
The catching, ringing or collecting the retrap data is the main nightime activity for visiting ringers. More than 100 birds are caught along this transect each night, moon and weather permitting.

Puffins !
More about the long-term colour-ringing of Puffins on the island in a post at the end of June.

A benefit of being out surveying in the field, is that you are out !!

 Whilst on the cliff top near North Pond we saw this Purple Heron arrive attracting the attention of the breeding gulls, then fly over North Pond and away to the mainland. Luckily Rich B. got my text in time and with Giselle and most guests managed to glimpse the bird as it departed, the motor home in the background is actually on the mainland !!!
(Photo Rich B)

For more details on visitng Skokholm Island Bird Observatory, see the Skokholm Blog
This is updated daily with news of the day's highlights and activities, and has links to booking accommodation,  and the Annual Bird Report.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to post comments but there may be a delay as they are all moderated to avoid spam