Friday, June 22, 2012

Apologies for the lack of blogs recently but it's all been a bit manic. Our fantastic late spring feels like it's pretty much over but a skulking Acrocephalus in the Obs garden gave us hope yet again. Sadly it wasn't nailed before torrential rain set in. Torrential rain around the new moon period in June usually means Manx Shearwaters at the light, and this is exactly what's been happening. It means we don't get too much sleep as we monitor how many birds are attracted. The last two nights have totalled more than 400 attracted with 73 trapped, including a control, and eight killed. The rain has been so intense that many of the Manx Shearwater burrows on the South End have completely filled with water, bedraggled adults sitting in the entranceways with their eggs presumably submerged.

As soon as the weather improves it gives us a chance to get around to the East Side of Bardsey where our seabird colonies are. We've managed to get to all the major Razorbill colonies and productivity, despite the weather and a rather protracted breeding season this year, is looking pretty good. The large gulls, despite fewer pairs attempting to nest, are also looking good in terms of productivity, particularly the Lesser Black-backed Gulls. (c) Richard Brown

Kittiwake productivity is also looking excellent, with most of the nests still holding two chicks. However, the number of adults which returned to breed this year was one of the lowest on record. Perhaps the two are linked? (c) Richard Brown

Adult Razorbills, returning to the colony with fish for their single chicks, often linger for long enough to allow for views of their rings. This bird, M94885, was ringed as a chick in 2000 at the same site that it is now rearing its own. More impressive is M23170, last seen in 2004, which had reached the staggering age of 41 years, 11 months and 23 days, the world's oldest Razorbill. (c) Richard Brown

Although we're now flat out with monitoring our breeding birds, we still had time to twitch Rolf Harris who spent two days filming on the Island.

The 2010 Annual report has just had a fantastic review on Birdguides (read it here:

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