16 June 2015

Ringing marathon

Not quite a 26-mile marathon, but a pretty full 24 hours of ringing was had yesterday. In the morning three of us kayak-ed out to Mullion Island to check on the progress of our Great Black-backed Gull chicks. These were, as expected, a bit behind the Looe Island birds, with most chicks being quite small. We ringed a token gesture four birds (and colour-ringed the only large-ish one), with our main ringing visit now planned for the end of the month.

The only chick big enough to ring, sporting one of our improved colour rings
The island also produced a few surprises in the form of an adult Cormorant sporting an orange ring (presumably one of ours from a few years ago), a metal-ringed Shag (presumably local), a pair of Guillemots with a chick (and possibly four pairs of Razorbills) and this Oystercatcher nest.

Later in the day we headed out to Hot Point, Lizard, for our first Storm Petrels of the year. In slightly too windy conditions, we managed 28 birds, including one from the Isles of Scilly and the obligatory bird missing a foot. With a few Manx Shearwaters buzzing round we also switched the tape-lure for a while, but despite five birds coming close none came quite close enough!

With dawn rapidly approaching, we switched location to Gunwalloe to get a pre-dawn net over the new cliff-top Sand Martin colony there. Must have been a bit cold, as birds were rather reluctant to get up, but as dawn arrived we managed to catch 17 birds, including two very fresh juveniles.

Our Sand Martin net was a bit of a Heath Robinson affair...
Juvenile (left) and adult (right) Sand Martins

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