Tuesday 28 June 2016

Skokholm revisited

Another visit to Skokholm to help mainly with colour ringing Great Black-backed Gull chicks. This is part of the long term monitoring of survival and recruitment into the breeding population. The largest chick we ringed was already practicing stretching its wings and jumping.

This is one of the smaller chicks, back in its sheltered spot after ringing

and these were three from the same nest.

We were joined by Ieuan and Viola from the BTO who were out on the island with a group of Cardiff University students on their long running annual field course

Oystercatcher chicks were also colour ringed joining the Pembrokeshire Ringing Group wader study.

Once a year, a couple of hours are spent in Crab Bay mist-netting Puffins to top up up the colour ringed study population. Visitors to the island enjoy contributing to the study by looking for colour ringed birds in the study plot.

More about the Puffin ringing on The Skokholm Blog

We also caught some Passerines using mist nets, spring traps and running the Helgoland traps.  A lot of juvenile Wheatear were fledging around the island and a couple were ringed.

The wardens and volunteers were busy all week doing a whole island Storm Petrel Census, part of the 10 year national survey of the UK's breeding Storm Petrel population.  Vicky and Erin here using an endoscope to look into a Storm Petrel nest hole, though most of the surveying is using playbacks.

The count was featured on the BBC news website last week "Project to count Storm Petrels off Pembrokeshire Coast"

Cardiff University have been running a field course on Skokholm for many years, also held on Skomer for 3 years while the island was shut. The students spent the week doing various projects and gave interesting reports on their work at their end of course barbecue.

Some of them joined us catching Manx Shearwaters along the study transect at night.

Captures this year are averaging 50% retraps from previous years. Nice that the first Manxie we caught was one we ringed last June, back after its long journey to the South Atlantic.

Another very worthwhile week on Skokholm.
A stay on Skokholm is highly recommended. Ringers are welcome. See the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales website for information
Staying on Skokholm

Meanwhile, Andrew, our trainee, was out on Skomer helping with the Manx Shearwater research.  Here is a young chick being weighed

 Back to the Teifi now and CES is planned for Thursday.

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