06 July 2011
After a hectic day at work, I raced out at 1640 to drive to the
Lihou Causeway with the aim of quickly crossing to Lihou specifically
to check whether the small (c 10 pairs) colony of Lesser Black-backed
Gulls which nest around the pool on Lissroy, Lihou had been successful.
I walked swiftly across the causeway and as I approached Lissroy it was
immediately obvious from the gulls’ behaviour that there was no
activity in the tiny colony. A few adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were
on the ground, but they took off calling and flew towards Lihou.
I made a 10 minute search of the pond and its surrounding vegetation.
There were seven or eight empty nests, and one containing a single
(presumably addled or deserted) egg, but all were very clean indicating
that there were no young gulls in the area. This is now the third year
running that this small colony on Lihou has failed completely to raise
any chicks, and although this is only a small colony, it is worrying
that the adults do not seem to be able to breed successfully any more
There was not time on this visit to check the rest of Lihou, although
we already know from our visit in mid-June that there are few Lesser
Black-backed Gulls nesting around Lihou this year, and the Herring
Gulls have had a mediocre to poor year on the island. Unfortunately
this visit to Lihou to check on Lesser Black-backed Gull nesting
success was very much as expected.
One wonders when these gulls will enjoy some success on the island
again. If they do not get some chicks raised surely we will expect them
to move away from Lihou and try somewhere else?
Paul K Veron
07 July 2011