Meeting up at Beaumaris the team consisted of a number of newcomers including visiting ringer Vivain from mid-Wales and Liverpool University researchers, Alice, Harriet & Fed. Amelia is a SCAN trainee but hadn't been out to Puffin much before and there was Ian and myself who, after a number of years, have got used to the routine. The team were ably led by Steve.
The focus on this trip was to ring as many Shag and Razorbill pullus as we could find within the allotted timescale. After the introductions we headed towards the jetty and our transport. The trip out was uneventful with a couple of Black Guillemots showing near Beaumaris pier and, as we got closer to the island, swarms of auks & Shags.
After being transferred to the island we changed into our oldest clothes. Steve gave a safety briefing and explained what the aims were and got to work. The birds seem to be doing very well this year and there was a lot for us to do.
Like other auks Razorbills fledge before they can fly and launch themselves of the breeding ledges within a few weeks to join the parents at sea. I can't really blame them - they'll probably do anything to get away from the smell! As well las plenty of youngsters there were also a number of birds still on eggs and we'll go back and ring these on the next trip.
Auk 'rings' aren't really rings at all but 'clips' with a special technique for closing them which is easiest done using engineering pliers rather than large ringing pliers. We also managed to ring a few Guillemot pulls but the main trip for these will be in a few weeks time. It was great seeing all the activity around the seabird colonies and I never get tired of it. The ledges were full of breeding auks, Shags and Kittiwakes whilst higher up on flatter ground gulls were either incubating or feeding young. We ran the gauntlet of the gulls on several occasions with one particular Great Black-backed Gull managing to hit me and almost knock my cap off.
A great day and a good number of birds ringed ! A smelly, tired and generally happy team departed the island around 1630 for the boat rip back to Beaumaris where we saw a party of Manx Shearwaters shearing ahead of us. A lifer for Federico who's more used to the Mediterranean species in his native Italy.