12 April 2014

Mullion Cormorants

Yesterday a small boatload of us made our first visit of the year to Mullion Island. With our outboard not quite in a usable condition yet, so thanks to Luke for rowing us out! Whilst it might seem a bit early in the season, Cormorants have a very long and extended breeding season so an early visit is essential to make an accurate count of nests.

Once on the island, we were greeted by well over 80 Cormorants around the main 'colony', which seemed to have shifted slightly along the top of the island (or was that just my imagination?). In total we counted 52 active nests, which compares well to the 24 counted last year.

Most of these nests appeared to have complete clutches of three or four eggs, with one even having five eggs which is pretty unusual. The earliest nest was also in the process of hatching, with three naked chicks hatched and the final chick just breaking out of the egg. But the timing is much later this year, as our first visit last year (on the earlier date of 6th April) saw 14 out of the 24 nests already with chicks, with several big enough for ringing. So with incubation of around a month (thanks BTO BirdFacts), watch this space to see how the later season progresses...


Downscaling a bit, we also had chance to check two of our Dipper boxes near Truro. Both were on eggs last time we visited and nothing had changed, with clutches of four and five eggs. With incubation of just 17 days it won't be long until these clutches both hatch.

Dipper nestboxes are simple but effective!

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