Lihou Island (Part 2)

08 July 2012

With the 2012 seabird breeding season beginning to reach its conclusion, Jamie Hooper, Chris Mourant and I took the opportunity before the current tidal window closes to visit Lihou to conclude the monitoring of the gulls. As soon as we crossed the causeway to the island we could see that we were about 10 days too late for an ideal visit. Quite a few fully grown Herring Gull chicks could be seen perched up on large rocks and boulders on the beaches on the eastern side of the island.

We walked out to the rocky knoll at the north-eastern tip. Chris and I had covered the southern and western part of the island on our previous visit on 22 June. From here we covered the coastline all the way back to the causeway, as well as visiting Lissroy.

Surprisingly, given the persistently wet weather, the 2012 season appears to have been a “better than average” season for Herring Gull productivity on Lihou, with c 40 chicks seen along this stretch of coast. Only 13 were ringed, as the remainder were well capable of flight! In addition we found a Lesser Black-backed Gull chick next to the path, and eight Great Black-backed Gull chicks (most near to fledging).

The tiny Lesser Black-backed Gull colony on Lissroy contained at least three well-grown fledglings (two of which were located and ringed), and single Great Black-backed and Herring Gull chicks were also ringed on Lissroy.

Several Oystercatchers were clearly breeding on the sections of coastline covered, but we didn’t see any chicks.

One adult Herring Gull suffering from botulism was picked up on Lissroy and taken to the GSPCA Animal Shelter. As a reminder that the summer (what summer?!) is advancing a couple of Redshanks were seen on Lihou, some of the earliest of the migrants returning back south!


09 July 2012