Unfortunately the news from the Island wasn't all good as the regular monitoring by Liverpool University researchers suggested most of the Kittiwake nests had failed! Kittiwakes are on of the key indicator species of the health of our marine environments. Like terns they can't dive very deep so if there are no small fish near the surface they can't feed. These species are the first indicators of trouble - auks can dive up to 80 m in search of food. As Rachel said ' they're the canaries of the seabird colonies'.
In the case of the Puffin Island colonies it could be that the recent hot weather has meant the small fish have gone to deeper cooler water and can't be reached by the Kittiwakes. However, in the on going studies even a poor data set is important s owe duly met up at Beaumaris for the boat trip across in beautiful weather.
I was very sad to see so many Kittiwake nests deserted but we did manage to ring a few pulls and caught some adults to be colour ringed. The chicks have a habit of regurgitating their stomach contents all over you as a defence mechanism and I soon became immune to the smell of regurgitated squid! It was quite obvious what the parents had been feeding the youngsters on as you could see the tentacles in the vomit.