19 March 2015

Mullion Island Cormorants on the move

Never good to find that the morning you're off over to your seabird island there's frost all over your kayak! But thankfully the good old Cornish sun came out and warmed the day up pretty quickly.

So three of the group paddled out to Mullion Island (with an intrepid swimmer in tow), primarily to check how the Cormorants were doing. With our first Shag egg being a month earlier than in 2014, we'd half expected the Cormorants to be hatching by now. But what greeted us was a little bit disappointing...

The same area of the island in 2014, with numerous raised nest sites
The 'usual' (for the last two years at least) site was unoccupied, which had us worried momentarily, until we noticed where the birds had moved to for the summer! A small number of birds had moved onto the east-facing cliff edge, but most birds had moved right out onto the steepest cliff-edge along the western side of the island.

The white splats are a good indication of where the colony has now moved to
So sadly it looks like our Cormorant colour-ringing will be a bit limited this year, but at least it'll be easier to round up Great Black-backed Gull chicks later in the year.

And yes, whilst it was a nice and sunny day up top, our swimmer confirmed that the sea was still rather cold...

13 March 2015

2015 breeding season is upon us

Despite being a bit restricted in ringing activity of late, a spare sunny day seemed the ideal opportunity to nip back to Rinsey to check out the seabird situation. Following last year's late season, I was only really expecting a few early-returning Kittiwakes, but was pleasantly surprised.

Only a dozen Kittiwakes were were back on the cliffs, but these did include CA, an adult bird we ringed last summer, and also a French-ringed bird, but this headed out to sea before I could get a 'scope on it to get the full combination of colour rings.

CA (top right) back on its ledge
But more pleasing was our first Shag egg of the season, with one pair having at least one, possibly two, eggs (just about visible below). This is a full month earlier than last year, but about the same time as in 2013, so here's hoping it'll be a return to successful breeding seasons...