Friday, 12 July 2013

Ringing at the Amos and recent news

As mentioned in our last blog post Skokholm water testing visit some work conducted by Oxford and Sheffield Universities has been going on at the Amos. Over the course of two days, 8th and 9th of July, c.300 Guillemot chicks and c.40 adults were caught using leg hooks on poles and given colour rings to make them individually identifiable. Another six birds carrying geolocators (Oxford study) were recaught in order to retrieve the data held on the devices.

The university of Sheffield's long term study of Guillemots (it was started in 1972) continues, with another cohort of chicks ringed, so that their future survival and breeding success can be monitored. The adults and chicks caught came to no harm and the whole operation was conducted with the bird's welfare in mind. Hopefully the series of photos below give a feel for how the field work takes place.

Getting there
Tim Birkhead catching the birds using a leg hook on a pole
Guillemot researcher Jodie Crane holding two of her precious birds
The amazing Dave Boyle colour ringing an adult Guillemot
Lowering ringed chicks back onto the nesting ledge
Parent and chick back on ledge with brand new colour rings
There were two teams involved on the seperate days led by Prof. Tim Birkhead and Prof. Tim Guilford.

Day one, from left to right: Jodie Crane, Elsbeth Kenny, Dave Boyle, Tim Birkhead, Jamie Thomson and Stubbings
Day two, also from left to right: Tim Guilford, Jenny Roberts, Annette Fayet and Bee
As we love to talk about the weather in Britain, the recent spell of settled high pressure with sun and no wind is getting rather boring and causing a mini drought on Skomer. However, we can still moan about the drought, hay fever, caused by pollen from the Yorkshire Fog Holcus lanatus grass which covers large areas of the island, and of course being too hot. The warm and calm weather has meant that there have been a few butterflies flying though and as well as the super abundant Meadow Browns Maniola jurtina we have also recorded some Small Tortoiseshells Aglais urticae, Graylings Hipparchia semele and a few Dark Green Fritillaries Argynnis aglaja.

Dark Green Fritillary nectaring on thistles

Other recent sightings:
Lapwing 2
Swift 8
Stonechat juv 2
Goldfinch 8
Willow Warbler 1
Common Sandpiper 2
Common Scoter 18
Goldfinch 4
Goldfinch 4
Swift 1
Mediterranean Gull sub ad 1
Black-headed Gull 2
Goldfinch 9
Common Sandpiper 1
c.35 species of moth caught in trap at North Haven

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