Godin, The Humps

02 May 2012

Following our earlier visit to the Cormorant colony on Godin on 13 April, the Seabird Monitoring Team had intended returning in a fortnight to ring the chicks that were too small on our earlier visit, along with any new chicks that had hatched. However, very wet and windy weather in the last week of April had prevented this. Chris Mourant and I therefore took the first opportunity after that on 2nd May, when my brother Chris could run us out in his RIB.
The sea was slight to moderate, and in no time at all we were alongside Godin. Some masterful handling of the RIB got me and Chris ashore.  Unfortunately only the two of us were available to make this trip, so we knew it would be hard work. In the event we could not ring the medium-sized young, which disappeared to the rocky eastern end of the islet. Instead we concentrated on ringing the chicks that were still so small that they either remained in the nest or were very close by.

In very quick time we managed to colour ring another 15 Cormorant chicks (making a total of 30 for the season on the rock – although on this visit we found two of the birds from the previous trip which had failed to fledge). We estimated that this was just under half of the chicks on the islet this year from the 38 nests, but bearing in mind the asynchronous nesting and the difficulty in ringing with just two members of the team on both occasions this was a very credible effort.

Again when landing we had seen some juvenile Cormorants take to the air without effort. With little time to check other seabirds we did not count the Shag nests, but it was noticeable that several of the nests occupied several weeks back were now empty. Hopefully this is not a sign of what we may find later in the season more widespread across the colonies. The usual Puffin burrow beneath one of the boulders on the island was occupied, and a Razorbill was flying around the island on approach, but Guillemots were conspicuous by their absence. We will have to monitor the other seabirds in about a month's time when the Cormorants will have all left for another season.

Another successful trip in difficult circumstances...but a good result for the newly established Cormorant colour ringing project.
No time for any photos on this trip!


03 May 2012