30 June 2018

Seabird Saturday

Our annual gull-ringing trip over to Mullion Island is never the most productive affair, with the Great Black-backs there having very low productivity indeed. But kayaking over this morning we were met with a bit of an eerie silence, with very few alarming adults overhead. It looked like the hot weather had wilted off most of the vegetation on the island, most of which was laying flat, making it hard to check for chicks. But despite our best efforts we could only find a single gull chick on the whole island! We estimated over 60 nests for the island earlier in the year, so if they've only produced one chick then something is very wrong...

Perhaps linked to the poor breeding season of gulls on Mullion Island, there has also been a large gathering of non-breeding Kittiwakes off Lizard Head. We've seen at least on of our Rinsey/Trewavas birds there (but too distant to read the ring), but this morning three French-ringed birds were present, photographed by Terry Thirlaway.

Two of these were birds ringed as chicks in Brittany in 2016 and 2017 (hence definitely not of breeding age yet), but the other refused to show off it's full ring combination so remains a mystery for now.

24 June 2018

Our first ever KITTI chick returns!

Oh we love a high pressure! The weather has been just perfect the last few days to catch up on a few seabird chores, so a small group of us ventured out to our Kittiwake sites at Trewavas Head on Friday. While two of us paddled round from Porthleven, two scrambled round to meet us at the bottom of the cliffs for a lift around the last section only normally accessible on a low spring tide.

Having already caught many of the 'low-hanging fruit' in the colonies, it's becoming harder to target new birds, but perhaps that's a good sign that our catching has been going well. So between the two sites we only ringed a further nine adults, but did also manage to read a good number of rings on adults ringed in previous years. We also resighted a new French-ringed bird to us, originally ringed as a chick at Pointe du Raz, Brittany, in 2013.

But the highlight was spotted as we paddled back along the coast. A small face we've had our eye on had three Kittiwake nests on it with a few adults hanging round, one of which looked to be ringed. So with some dubious kayak-landing and a bit of a sketchy climb in shorts and wetsuit boots, we managed to confirm that this was PP (below); the first ever resighting of a bird we'd previously ringed as a chick (in 2015).