Saturday, 2 June 2012

Puffin Island: Ringing - 2nd June 2012

It's now June and that can only mean Puffin Island. Today a group of 6 of us (Steve, Rachel, Matt, Ian Wright, Ian Lees and I) went onto Puffin Island to ring primarily Shag and Razorbill. The weather held off until the last 20 minutes on the island so made for a really good day with pleasant weather (rather than last year, when it was ludicrously hot!). We went anti-clockwise round the island meaning we started off with Shag pulli. It wasn't long before we had gone through 150 rings!
We soon got some auks though and were pulling out lots of Razorbill, including some rather feisty adults. I had forgotten just how much respect you need to give adult Razorbills and therefore have lots of 'holes' in my hand. They are called Razorbills for a reason! 

I suppose it wouldn't be a trip to Puffin Island if we didn't catch at least 1 Puffin, so Steve noosed an adult that Matt ringed (It was Matt's first trip to the island so he got some superb experience with Auk specials, J's and E's, as well as catching and handling seabirds)
Probably the biggest surprise of the day was this little ball of fluff. It is a baby Puffin that Rachel extracted from a hole and ringed....albeit with a huge grin on her face! Very cute indeed!
Last year I really regretted not bringing my camera, as I had some great opportunities to get some fantastic photos of some of my favourite birds, however I think given the heat of the day and how it was my first trip to the island (so was keen to get fully stuck in), it would have probably been a hassle to lug a big 400mm lens around with me all day.
I did however bring it with me today, and as Steve has just been granted permission to do a Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) project on Razorbills, he was very keen for me to try and photograph some rings to get some retraps.
I managed to successfully photograph and read 24 Razorbill rings, 4 Shag rings and 5 Kittiwake darvics.

All in all a fantastic day and another incredibly valuable day for my ringing training and also totals. Thanks to Steve for coordinating and to the other 4 who made for a thoroughly enjoyable day!

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