8 May 2015

Mullion Island Cormorants

To continue the theme of early nestling ringing, yesterday saw three of us head over to Mullion Island on our annual Cormorant ringing trip. With 47 of the 50 pairs now nesting on an inaccessible cliff edge, we were expecting to ring just a handful of chicks, so the seven we found of perfect size were a bonus.

All were duly ringed and colour-ringed, so keep an eye out for our distinctive, coded orange rings on your birding travels.

This trip also gives us the opportunity to count the number of active Great Black-backed Gull nests on the island, and a quick sweep gave us at least 37 nests, currently with 90 eggs. There were also over 20 'nests' that my yet to be laid in, but we don't know how many of these will be used. Of the 37 most already had three eggs laid, so birds are well on the way here. This count is well down on 2014 though, when a visit on 17th May found 62 nests, containing 174 eggs, so here's hoping that some of the empty nests are yet to be filled!
One of the Great Black-backed Gull nests with one unusually pale egg
Whilst heading back to the kayaks (our new method of transport over to the island), we noticed a ragged wing sticking up out of the mallow. Assuming it might not be attached to much more, we dragged it up only to find it was attached to a some dried out remains, but remains with a metal ring and a shiny red colour ring! This is a Skokholm-ringed bird, and actually one seen in Portreath at the end of 2014, but we'll hear back with the full details soon.

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