Lissroy, Lihou

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 on Lissroy.

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