Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Gull Surveys, Puffin Island - 29th May 2012

Today I visited Puffin Island, Anglesey to survey Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull nests with the RSPB. We spent all day on top of the island counting nests.

The habitat was quite dense so there was a lot of back and forth. As a result, we could quite easily find a nest twice, so we marked each nest with colour-dyed Pasta. This helped us three ways:
1. Allowed us to not mark a nest twice.
2. Allowed us to perform a form of mark and recapture, where we went back through the colony and marked any nests we missed. I will leave this to the experts to analyse this data, but apparently this will be significant to make an estimate of the true population in the colony.
3. Bags of pasta were filled with 100 pieces, meaning that you only needed to count what pasta pieces we had left to get a count of how many nests we found.

We also got a chance to see some very cute chicks and even some birds hatching which is always a fantastic experience.
The best thing about Puffin Island is just how close you can get to the beautiful sea birds of the British coastline with Shag, Cormorant, Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar and Kittiwake a matter of feet away. The photos above and below were taken with my mobile 'digibinned', which gives you an impression of how close you get (apologies for the poor quality however. I hope to get some better photos on the forthcoming Puffin Island Ringing Trip this weekend).

Finally, back at the beach where we were collected, I found this lovely Eider nest. I now know why Eider down is so popular for comfort as it was incredibly soft! My first Eider nest.

Throughout the day, 4 of us found 850+ Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull nests. It was a very educational day which I thoroughly enjoyed.

No comments: