After a very hot day in the office, Catherine and Paul Veron, along with Chris Mourant, were delighted to make a quick trip out to Longue Pierre, the Humps with Tara and Darcy courtesy of Island Rib Tours at 16.30. A reporter from BBC radio (Jim Cathcart) was also aboard for the trip. With three and a half weeks since the last trip, the seabird team were keen to ascertain whether the good start to the seabird breeding season on Longue Pierre had been maintained - especially as 40 of the Shag nests had been marked for research purposes.
A very smooth ride out, with warm sea breeze and a short row across in the tender gave the team ¾ of an hour to ring the seabirds before Tara’s next boat trip booking. They worked fast in a clockwise direction, circling the outside of the islet first before working through the vegetation to look for hiding gull pulli. A total of five Great Black Backed Gull chicks were found and ringed, four of them being large enough to also take the yellow colour ring. A Great Black Backed Gull chick - 0L5 which had been colour ringed on the islet on the 6th June 2009 was still present. Three Herring Gull pulli were found and all fitted with colour rings. The team was also delighted to find three remaining Cormorants of ringable size which had not yet fledged, together with 24 Shag pulli. However with limited time, the team was not able to fully search the vegetation or to look at the Guillemot colony, which sounded like it had also been successful.
Catherine was only able to track down less than half (17) of the marked Shag nests due to time pressures. However, of these 17 rechecked nests, eight contained chicks which were now large enough to ring, two contained chicks that were already ringed and six were empty (either due to fledging or the youngsters moving to other nests). No bodies were recovered although a thorough search was not carried out. Worryingly one marker had been dislodged from its rock.
The team returned to Guernsey by 18.10 very pleased with the results of their visit and grateful to Island Rib Tours for the opportunity of visiting the islet again.
1 July 2009