Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The only migrants of note have been a lingering Cuckoo, a smattering of Spotted Flycatchers, Chiffchaffs and Sedge Warblers, and a few House Martins and Swallows overhead. But we have been flat out monitoring Bardsey's breeding birds. We have been continuing to colour ring the Chough nestlings and yesterday we made our first visit to the Seal Cave Razorbill colony.

The vast majority of Razorbills are still incubating eggs, but a few adults were seen delivering Sand Eels to tiny, but very hungry chicks. Both adults go out to fish but they usually take turns when the chicks are small. The fish are offered to the single chick one at a time, either by the arriving fisher or the remaining adult. (c) Richard Brown

The adult birds have stunning lemon yellow insides to their bills. The chick, almost from the moment of hatching, pecks at the white stripe on the adult's bill to encourage them to provide food. (c) Richard Brown

Razorbills have almost triangular legs. The rings we fit are designed to match this shape, with a flat bottom below the leg and angled sides. This makes the ring numbers relatively easy to read and a visit to the colonies can produce a good number of field sightings. This adult, M75549, was ringed as a chick, in the same colony, in June 1991. As of 2009, the oldest ringed Razorbill in the world was to be found on Bardsey, still nesting at the grand old age of 41years 11months and 23days old. (c) Richard Brown

Another Puss Moth update! All 13 caterpillars are in a feeding frenzy and growing greener and fatter very rapidly. After checking the original egg laying site, we noticed the eggs that remained had started to hatch but appeared to have perished. We took them in, just in case, and two of them hatched! The size difference is remarkable between the two considering there is only a two week age gap. (c) Richard Brown

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderfully informative blog. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.