12 May 2014

Rooftop gulls and garden demos

We've had a pretty busy week, so are a bit behind on the blog, so only a quick update here...

At the end of last week we were out filming with Finestripe productions, who are working on a BBC1 programme (Britain's Boldest, out in the autumn) looking at our interactions with wildlife, including pasty-snatching urban gulls. So we were out for the day in St Ives fitting four breeding Herring Gulls with GPS loggers, which then transmit via relay stations to a base station positioned for the summer in a local B&B. At the moment the loggers are just recording a position every 10 minutes, but at the height of pasty-snatching behaviour they'll record a position several times a minute, allowing us to follow these birds around the town.

One of our Herring Gulls with its solar-powered GPS logger
The loggers also have an inbuilt accelerometer, so we'll hopefully be able to see the exact behaviours of these birds as well. Exciting times!

Not a bad place to live...
Birds were caught with a modified pet run, now a cage trap!
Rooftop filming with urban gull guru Peter Rock
We then changed location at the weekend, setting up at Trebah Gardens for a weekend Wildlife Celebration with Cornwall Wildlife Trust. We've run a ringing demo at this annual event for a few years now, but this is the first time at this new location (it used to be at the Lost Gardens of Heligan). Things didn't look good, as all of our nestboxes (admittedly only put up in February) were empty and the peanut feeders had been helpfully emptied by local squirrels, but we persisted anyway...

In the end, we caught just about enough birds to keep the crowds happy, including plenty of Robins (always a hit), Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a couple each of Blue, Great and Coal Tit.

Robins are always popular with the kids
These demos are a great way to get kids hands on and enthused about wildlife and we were pretty busy on both days. We also managed to recruit a couple more potential trainees, at least one new Barn Owl site and another good gull contact, so good for us too!

Big thanks to Emma for helping out over the weekend and also for taking some pics.

1 comment:

  1. You'd be lost without Emma! :-)

    Seriously, great to see the kids included, nice post.......

    ps - I'm informed Peter did a talk at Chacewater on Gulls and drew a crowd of over 80........