3/4 June 2006


This was an overnight visit by Catherine and Paul, with Louise Soanes and Bill. PKV’s first visit to Burhou in 12+ years! It was fabulous to be back. C 21 Shag nests on Burhou with a further 18+ on Little Burhou. Ringed 28 Shag pulli. They were quite late – with most nests with eggs/small young – also norm = two young. There were three nests with three nestlings and several with one chick.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls more numerous than last time I was on Burhou – but Puffin protection project is having an impact. Puffins with c 100 occupied burrows – indicating relatively stable population of recent years (despite apparent dramatic increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls).
C 10 Cormorant nests on Little Burhou but young too big and mobile to be able to approach across the final gully. Only two medium/large cormorant chicks were ringed on rocks of Little Burhou closest to Burhou.
Very few gull chicks hatched yet. Most Lesser Black-backed Gulls were still on eggs.
Big highlights came after dark. Put 1 x 18m and 2 x 12m nets at East End (where Catherine and team put some of the nets in previous years). There was a half Moon which set at 2 am. First catch of Storm Petrels at 2245 hrs – then a rush until 2 am, then steadier until final catch at 0330 (when gulls were back in the air and the light returned).
Caught 39 new birds and 60+ retraps/controls. Wonderful experience! Also value now beginning to accrue from ringing/retrap data. The colony must be much bigger than estimates of 60+ pairs!
Saw several birds flying in against the moon – surprisingly fast flight. Caught birds both low in nets and also in tops shelves and also both sides of the nets. Heard one petrel churring very loudly from rocky ridge for 10+ minutes.
The Bracken is very low, more restricted than my last visit 12+ years ago. Also much browned by the wind.
Found Rock Pipit on nest with eggs and young in rabbit burrow in centre of island, and a pair of Northern Wheatear on the island (possible breeding?).
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