8 April 2024

Spanish Black-head and record Cormorant numbers

Mullion Island Cormorants are already well into their breeding season now, with some chicks almost ready to fledge. Our regular count from photos found a reciord 75 nests across the front of the island, beating the 73 nests in 2021 and 72 in 1999.

Annoyingly, photographs also showed an interloper in the colony. This white- (or blue-) ringed bird is likely to be from Wales or Ireland, but without being able to read the ring we'll never know. We're currently investigating the options for remote pan-tilt-zoom cameras, so watch this space.

The highlight from this weekend was a great sighting by Shaun Grose at Hayle. This Black-headed Gull (black ring N016) is actually the first Spanish-ringed bird to be seen in Cornwall, so quite special. In fact only 30 have ever been seen in the UK, so even at a national level this is notable.

It was ringed as an adult on the north coast of Spain in January 2022 and was regular there until 11th March 2022, then seen again in March 2023. It returned in January 2024 and was last seen there on 26th February, before being seen at Hayle. Presumably it's breeding somewhere in the UK, so one to look out for in future years.