Longue Pierre, The Humps 18th June 2007

A short visit to Longue Pierre courtesy of Tara from Island Rib Tours on Monday 18th June 2007 at 5.30pm resulted in a few additional birds to the annual sea bird total.  Ringers were Paul, Chris and Catherine (David having missed the boat).
A window in the poor weather forecast meant that the team decided to proceed with their visit albeit that other sites had proved disappointing.  The picture was no different on Longue Pierre with again virtually no Shags nesting. The adults are about, but for some reason have not nested this year.  No active nests were found, other than a single chick of reasonable size which was ringed.  However a dead adult shag was found with a ring on indicating that it was 16 years old – having been ringed by Paul in 1991 on the same islet.  

The Common Guillemots were down too, although we did see about ten chicks and half a dozen eggs under one large boulder in the centre of the island.  Two adult Guillemots were ringed from the colony and four retraps gained from adults. The ringers used the Guillemot hooks constructed by Derek Solway which proved very successful especially the smaller leg hook.  After about 10 minutes of hooking out Guillemots we left the colony to settle back down as there was a reasonable amount of wet guano under the rock which was beginning to stick to the chicks.  With limited wind the ringers also had to put adults back under the rock due to the risks of poor take-offs from the rock if released away from the colony.  

The mallow on the lower part of the island was not nearly as lush as previous years and was infested with flies making hunting for gull chicks less than pleasant.  A total of three Great Black Backed Gull chicks was ringed, again poor numbers compared to previous years.  The sea beet was doing well on the island but did not provide such a good cover for seabird chicks. 

 
The two other Guillemot colonies were checked on the far north end of the island but there were no adults or chicks, only remnants of 4 or 5 eggs which had been predated or unsuccessful.
The team returned to the dingy which was already in danger of floating off on the rising tide and rowed back to the rib.  Chris pointed out a Razorbill sitting on the obelisk type rock off Longue Pierre.   However due to work commitments Tara had to return to St Peter Port for her next boat trip and we were unable to visit any other islets.