Jethou 4th July 2007

The team managed a late visit to Jethou on 4th July 2007 thanks to a small reasonably good window in the bad weather.  Ringers were Paul, Chris and Catherine.

With Dr Ogden’s permission we caught the Jethou Island staff boat over at 9am accompanied by a couple of archeologists who were researching the Island.  General feedback from the Jethou staff reported little breeding activity, with the usual Oystercatcher and gull families not breeding in their regular nest sites along the path leading from the pier to the house.

Due to the high state of the tide, ringing was initially limited to a couple of well advanced Oystercatcher chicks on the first rocky beach facing Herm.  Paul directed operations from the land, whilst Chris and Catherine searched the boulders for the well camouflaged chicks.  Once successfully ringed, a quick retreat was made so as to limit disturbance to the remaining gulls. 

The team continued around Jethou toward Fauconniere but no attempts to ring gulls on the beaches were made due to the high tide which risked the chance of chicks running into the sea.  Instead a quick reconnaissance was carried out and then a retreat back to the landing pier for coffee.  Once the tide had turned, the team set off again and proceeded along the beaches working in a line spread from the water’s edge up to the headland.  As the chicks were relatively large, great care was taken to avoid allowing them to reach the sea.  A total of 62 Herring Gull chicks was ringed, along with five Lesser Black Backed Gulls and two Great Black Backed Gulls.

The poor report from the Jethou Staff proved true to word with a grand ringing total of only four Shags.  Great rafts of adults (500 plus) could be seen in the waters off the Island but little or no attempt had been made to breed this year.  The young that were ringed were one on Fauconniere beach, two under a boulder half way up the Island (around the corner from the terraces) and the last nestling was found on the first rocky outcrop on Crevichon (as you approach it from Jethou). 

After the team had circumvented the Island, the members retired for a sandwich by the pier. After lunch (1.30pm) and following a conversation with the boat man, the team decided to wade across to Crevichon as the return boat would now be leaving at 3.00pm and so time was limited.  Similar poor breeding was also evident on Crevichon, with a total of 11 Great Black Backed Gulls, seven Herring Gulls and one already mentioned Shag chick being ringed. 

A brief investigation of the quarry revealed that no shags or gulls were present and that the Egrets had already fledged three chicks which were seen flying away from the trees.

No sign of rats this year but the vegetation looked very dry and sparse compared to previous years.  Several groups of Red Legged Partridge were flushed from vegetation during the day, and good numbers of butterflies were seen.

A grand total of 87 gulls were ringed during the day, 75 of which were Herring Gulls but many others were too big and agile to catch.   As with other Bailiwick sites, the seabird breeding was disappointing for the majority of species.