Lihou - 29 June 2006


Jamie, Michelle, Catherine and Paul made a quick visit to Lihou during an afternoon neap tide. Only 90 minutes to work the island. Started with gulls on southern roped off end. Jamie and Michelle had been over the day before and ringed eight Great Black-backed Gull chicks and three Herring Gulls on the island.
Between us we relocated a few of these and added another couple of Great Black-backed Gulls. Also ringed a Lesser Black-backed Gull chick in this part of the island.
There were several Oystercatcher nests still with eggs. The Ringed Plover nest by the landing beach had cracked eggshells (indicating hatching?). However, there was no sign of either parents or young.  Jamie reported that when first discovered, visitors were disturbing the nesting parents by inadvertently walking too close due to the build up of seaweed over the normal access path up to the island.  The Environment Department had instructed Environment Guernsey to rope off the area and encourage visitors to access the island via an alternative route.
We then walked around to visit Lihoumel, avoiding two camouflaged Oystercatcher nests with eggs by the Venus pool. The small colony of Cormorants was very interesting. Jamie had ringed 12 from this colony earlier, but there were still two new ones to ring, along with three Shags. This small colony is ideal to work. Several big Shags (which Jamie had ringed on previous visit) were still near their nests.
Surprisingly we found five dead Shag chicks (including three ringed ones). It is unusual to find so many failed fledglings – possibly an indicator of poor food supplies (leading to a pretty poor breeding season across the Bailiwick for Shags)?  There was also evidence of a rat population living on Lihoumel.
We finished with quick visit to a small colony of gulls in the NE corner. Here we ringed another two Lesser Black-backed Gulls (hiding down rabbit burrows), and a Great Black-backed Gull.  We found one dead adult Herring Gull and one dead adult Lesser Black-backed Gull in the grass.