Thursday, 2 May 2013

Another Puffin count

Now that we are in to May we are making our last Puffin counts before numbers drop considerably as birds go down on eggs. Our first count on the 20th of April saw a peak in numbers with over 19,000 birds counted. The next count on the 25th was still relatively high at 17,228 and our third count dropped yet again to 12,803. The first egg was found by researchers from Oxford university on the 1st of May using a burrow scope.

The Puffins are now bringing in nesting material and the first eggs have been laid

Researchers from Oxford are also looking at survival rates, burrow occupancy and reproductive success. For this they are colour ringing a number of birds and resighting them each year. Can you spot the colour ringed bird in the photo below?

Another Puffin count (12,803)

There has also recently been a paper published on the at-sea behaviour of the Skomer Manx Shearwaters during their migration and in the winter. For more imormation see this link.

Other Skomer birds have started nest building and the first Wheatear and Meadow Pipit nests have been found. Spring is definitely now in the air and there is a flush of growth and colour which was sadly lacking until now. Migrants are pushing through with the majority being Sedge Warblers, Common Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.

Recent Highlights:
The Pallid and Montagu's Harriers both enjoyed there last day on Skomer, using the warm bright day to find uplifting thermals and continue their amazing journeys (the former actually seen circling upwards and gliding off to the north at 09.45).
2 Juvenile Red Kites
6 Whimbrels
2 Short-eared Owls
1 Sand Martin
A singing male Stonechat
6 Sedge Warblers
6 Common Whitethroats
2 Blackcaps
2 Chiffchaffs
10 Willow Warblers
1 Merlin
13 Sedge Warblers
9 Common Whitethroats
3 Willow Warblers
1 Chiffchaff
18 Goldfinches

In other news; please be aware that if you are coming to stay on Skomer over the coming weeks, the tractor is still broken and lugguge needs to be carried and pushed in wheelbarrows up to the accommodation at the old farm. We will keep you updated on this but for now pack lightly.

Eddie Stubbings, Skomer Warden

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