Catherine and I made a very quick 20 minutes visit to Omptolle early this morning to monitor the seabird breeding season. As usual there were at least two pairs of Great Black-backed Gulls, although we could only find two half-grown chicks from one of the pairs. The rocky terrain and the small amount of time on this islet make locating mobile chicks very difficult. Both chicks were large enough to take both metal and colour rings. There were also at least six Herring Gull nests on the periphery of the islet. These nests still had eggs or in a couple of cases young which had only just hatched. Two pairs of Oystercatchers were nesting (one nest with three eggs) and the other pair with at least two one or two day old chicks. As has been the case in several previous years, a pair of feral White-fronted Geese was also nesting (eggs).
No sooner had we left the islet than the birds settled down again. It is encouraging that the nesting success on the islet strongly implies that the sign closing the area during the seabird nesting season is respected – despite the causeway to the islet opening on most tides.