Friday, January 21, 2011

We will be spending a lot of the summer monitoring breeding birds on Bardsey. 

An Oystercatcher nest. Roughly 90 pairs breed on Bardsey. Every year we monitor a random sample of nests to see how the population is doing (c) Richard Brown

In 2010 the number of seabirds returning to the breeding colonies was similar to 2009 but with an increase in the number of Razorbill, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull, fewer Fulmar, and significantly fewer Kittiwake. Productivity was disappointing for most species with Kittiwakes suffering a bad year but Razorbills doing well. We'll be hoping for better in 2011. 

Young Kittiwakes were in very short supply in 2010 (c) Richard brown

Ringed Plover bred for the first time since 2004. Numbers of Shelduck and Mallard increased slightly but both species failed to fledge any young. The number of breeding Peregrine remained the same but productivity was the worst since 2000.

Two pairs of Ringed Plover, an irregular breeder on Bardsey, bred in 2010 (c) Richard Brown
We are specially licenced to access the nests of breeding Peregrine on the island. We use ropes to reach their nest ledges high on the east side cliffs (c) Richard Brown

The breeding passerines generally had a good year, both in terms of the number of pairs and productivity. The numbers of breeding Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff and Chaffinch were all improved and House Martin and Whitethroat bred successfully for the first time in recent years. Sadly Stonechat numbers crashed in 2010 but the single pair was very productive. Linnet continued their long-term decline. Chough suffered their lowest productivity on record for a second successive year.  

Young Skylark aren't the prettiest but they're incredibly well camouflaged (c) Richard Brown

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