24 Jun 2022

First Puffin Island trip of the year

Wind has hampered ringing efforts on Puffin island this year with dates having to be hastily rearranged as the boat that ferries us across couldn't land us safely. Consequently it was a small team that made the first SCAN ringing trip of the year recently on a weekday rather than a weekend. 

The targets were Shag, Razorbill and a few Guillemot chicks. It soon became apparent that Guillemots and Shags have done extremely well but we struggled to find good numbers of Razorbills. Have the recently re-established rats begun to have an affect or did the first eggs fail? A lot of Razorbills were still on eggs.

Guillemots were everywhere and nesting on some extremely exposed ledges right on top of the cliffs. 

Razorbill egg

Guillemot egg

We did manage to ring about 120 Razorbill chicks and a few adults and hopefully there will be a few more to ring on our next trip.

The Shags were easier to find and we had no problem ringing our sample of 200 birds! It was quite distressing to see the amount of old plastic / nylon discarded fishing gear in some of the Shag nests yet others, less than a metre away had virtually none. Maybe theres a project there for someone tring to find out why some birds use this discarded material and some don't! 

It appears that the resident gull colonies are doing well this year and there were plenty of quite well grown Herring Gull chicks around as well as some newly hatched ones such as these pair that look like a set of fluffy slippers! 

We always try to stop for lunch at the old telegraph station and admire the view before the afternoons work begins. It was a stunning day and despite the aches and pains, scratches, cuts and bruises it was a pleasure just to sit for awhile and admire the view.

View across to Great Orme from the top of Puffin Island

A few pairs of Oystercatchers run the gauntlet of marauding gulls and nest on the island every year. Occasionally a youngster is found thats big enough to ring but this one was far too small! 

This is my 10th season helping ring seabirds on Puffin Island and, as I found playing rugby, the older you get then the longer the recovery time! I was still aching three days later!  

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