Monday, 18 May 2015

Seabirds: the season so far...

The Skomer seabird season is well and truly kicking off, with most of our breeding species already settled into their breeding ledges, scrapes and burrows. Most species are on eggs now, and the cliffs are as busy and spectacular as ever.  

On the alcid front, the biggest news is that our Puffins are continuing their recent population boom, with the all island count revealing a grand total of 21,349 individuals; the highest population total ever recorded on Skomer. Following all the concern regarding the seabird wreck of 2014, it's nice to have something positive to shout about! The first egg was located on the 5th May this year, though they may have been incubating for some time before this (nesting underground makes the eggs particularly difficult to locate!)

'Puffin soup' was an apt description on the evening of the whole-island seabird count, with huge numbers of birds on land!

We will have to wait until the end of June before we can tell you how many pairs of Razorbills and Guillemots there are breeding on the cliffs this year. However the daily soap operas that are the 'guille' and 'raz' colonies carries on regardless. Constant activity within the groups makes for entertaining watching, with lots of fighting, preening and making up, more fighting and fending off incoming attacks from the gulls ensures the colony is never quiet!  

Common Guillemot

Razorbill. As smart and clean-cut as they come.

The first guillemot egg was discovered on the 30th April this year, a full 13 days earlier than last year (this year appears to be more 'normal' than early, with 2014 being exceptionally late). The first Razorbill egg was discovered on 25th April, again much earlier than last years first date (12th May), and more in line with the norm.

Stay tuned for more updates on the rest of the islands seabirds!

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