1 June 2020

2020 seabird update

It's been a while now since we've updated the blog, but to be honest lockdown has meant that we've not really been up to much anyway! We've been out reading gull rings locally and that's about it. But now lockdown has eased slightly we've been able to get out and start to look at Barn Owls and some of our seabirds. More on the owls later, but it was great to get out to Trewavas Head and Mullion Island recently and see how our birds are getting on.

A quick kayak out past Trewavas Head last week found very healthy numbers of Kittiwakes back on the ledges, including lots of 'new' birds at Trequean which has only recently been used. This new site appears to have been taken on by younger birds, with several birds we've ringed as chicks now sat on the ledges there. A quick paddle found 23 of our colour-ringed birds and four French birds which is a great start.

We then had our first trip over to Mullion Island today to check on the numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls nesting there. We weren't able to get over to ring any Cormorants this year due to lockdown, which was unfortunate as they were in a very accessible part of the island! But we were able to photograph and count nests earlier in the year and the count of at least 53 (and probably 57) is the highest we've seen in recent years.

Some of this year's fledged Cormorants enjoying the sun

Back to the gulls, there was one section of the island we couldn't cover due to nesting Shags and Cormorants, but we covered a majority of the island and counted 59 nests, mostly still with eggs. This is slightly down on previous years, as was the 146 eggs/chicks counted.

Great Black-backed Gull nest with a view

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
GBB Gull nests - 62 37 83 70 60 71 (59)
GBB Gull eggs/chicks 98 174 90 204 166 - 195 (146)
GBB Gull chicks ringed 4 17 12 13 5 3 16 ?
Cormorant nests 24 52 50 39 47 38 47 53-57
Cormorant chicks ringed 11 19 7 16 0 0 14 0

We'll be back over in a few weeks to see how those 146 have got on, so more on that later.

Newly-hatched Great Black-backed Gull chick

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