4 July 2021

A mediocre Kittiwake season

At the weekend we had an evening paddle out to the Kittiwake colony at Trewavas Head to continue our Retrapping (or resighting in our case) Adults for Survival project. It was the perfcet sea conditions for a kayak, and two of us managed to cover most of the colony in under three hours.

Sadly, as in the past two years, the main site was earily quiet with a lot of birds sat by empty nests or just loafing. Just five nests had chicks, with just four other sitting adults, which is a shadow of the 70 pairs of just a few years ago. We did manage to reread colour rings on 10 birds, all ringed as adults at the same site in 2013, 2015 (2 birds), 2016 (2 birds) and 2018 (4 birds). We also took the opportunity to ring a couple more adults to contribute to the project.

There was slightly better news at Trequean Zawn, where there were at least six nests with chicks and 10 adults sitting tight. Part of this site can only be seen from the sea, so there are no doubt more nesting birds than this. There were more colour-ringed birds here, many with much more interesting histories. Most of these were ringed as chicks, obviously recruiting to a new site away from their natal site. Birds were recorded that had been ringed as chicks at the main colony in 2015 (3 birds), 2016 (3 birds) and 2018 (3 birds), and there was also a chick ringed at the engine houses area of the cliffs in 2017. Interestingly there were also four adults at Trequean that had been ringed as adults at the main site in 2016 and 2017, and still recorded there in 2020.

PP was ringed as a chick in 2015 and has successfully
bred the last three years at Trequean
 Additional to these local birds were three French-ringed birds, ringed as chicks in 2007, 2011 and 2015. These also have interesting histories, with one of them seen previously at Rinsey in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and another (OWM-RNN) that was at the main Trewavas site in 2012-19 before moving to Western Cove, Portreath in 2020.

It'll be interesting to see how the birds get on at the main site and whether or not more move along to Trequean in the future.

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