28 April 2013
Taking advantage of a large spring tide, Chris Mourant, Catherine and I went over to Lihoumel Islet today to check on the Great Cormorant colony. On the walk over Lihou several Herring Gulls were seen sitting on their nests along the western coastline – presumably now on eggs. Other Herring Gulls were copulating and so at the start of the breeding cycle. Great Black-backed Gulls were also seen on the usual promontories on the western side, while Lissroy looked to have the regular very small Lesser Black-backed Gull colony (up to ten pairs), along with a larger number of Herring Gulls.
We crossed to Lihoumel, where we could see adult Great Cormorants on the south-west ridge. A quick count of the colony revealed 15 Great Cormorant nests, the majority with tiny chicks or eggs. Two two-thirds grown youngsters were located and colour-ringed, along with another four small chicks, which were still in their nests.
Most European Shags on the islet were just beginning to lay eggs in their nests.
This was a very quick, but useful visit to establish the size and timing of the Great Cormorant colony this year. Within minutes of leaving Lihoumel the first adult Great Cormorants were already back on their nests.
Paul K Veron
29 April 2013