Always one of the
highlights of the year, Catherine and Paul were really looking forward
day ringing around Sark with Andy Cook. The pair caught the 0930 boat
and met Andy at the harbour. With the first boat across being so late
no time for tea at the harbour café. Instead we took to Seamouse
and Andy headed straight out to L’Etac de Serk.
Daly was diving with a team around L’Etac so we had to be careful
landed. It was lovely to be back on this stack, even though it was
obvious that, as expected, there were less than half a dozen active
and all of these had either eggs or young too small to ring.
worked our way around the south west side of the islet checking some of
boulders. Several Razorbills and Guillemots flew from the boulders as
approached, but Paul managed to catch an adult Guillemot under a
there was one egg and a small chick. Further along Catherine managed to
Puffin under a crack in a large rock. She stuck her arm in and the
attached itself to the end of one of her fingers. It remained attached
withdrew her arm…resulting in an adult Puffin being ringed.
Puffins appeared to have come to L’Etac very late in 2008, and
in good numbers (George Guille had counted c 50 birds on some of his
boat trips around the islet) it wasn’t clear how many of these
around an adult Razorbill was caught standing over its chick in a rock
at the north end of the stack. Although c 30 Guillemots were present on
water, the general impression was of an unsuccessful season for them on
as several broken egg shells were found, and only a couple of active
pairs were located on the visit.
across the ridge of the islet we expected to find a few Great
Gulls, but were disappointed. In the end the only chick we found was at
southern end just above the sea.
it had been a very poor seabird season on L’Etac this year,
ringing of an adult Razorbill, Guillemot and Puffin was very much
the dive team behind on their boat, we sped across the narrow sound to
Breniere. Several well-grown gull chicks could be seen as we approached
hopes that the gulls, at least, were having a reasonable season. We
worked around the rock from the high tide mark to the ridge, ringing a
21 Herring and eight Lesser Black-backed gulls. Although the majority
pulli were straightforward to identify, some of the birds had wing
that were very difficult to determine. We found only one Great
Gull chick on the rock.
ringing the gulls on Breniere, we worked our way slowly back along
coast to the harbour, where we tied up for lunch in the harbour
café. Then we
headed out to Moie de Lache, just outside the harbour. This small rock
to ring – 10 Herring and two Lesser Black-backed gulls. One of
the large chicks
headed into the sea and paddled strongly away from the rock. This in
not a problem, for the sea was very calm and the bird would easily be
paddle back. However, when it was 80 metres away it attracted the
an adult Great Black-backed Gull. Fortunately the parent Herring Gull
the chick and defended it until we could reach it to pluck it from the
return it safely to its natal rock.
stop was Grande Moie, which is always a pretty difficult stack to
was a flotilla of 18 Razorbills just off the rocks, and several up on
inaccessible rock cracks – a really strong showing for the
species. On the rock
we only found two Herring Gull chicks large enough to ring. Again the
nests were all empty – the nesting efforts on Grande Moie had
come to nothing.
Petite Moie was also pretty barren, with a few small Lesser
chicks the only youngsters seen. Unfortunately our favourite auk
this rock were totally deserted (just broken egg shells).
final landing place was Banquette Landing, where the Lesser
colony numbered c 10 pairs. We managed to find three chicks to ring
which were large enough to also take colour rings…the first
pulli to be so
ringed under the project commenced in 2008).
the ringing work done Andy and Paul enjoyed tea and gache on
Andy’s yacht in
Greve de la Ville, while Catherine braved the waters for a swim.
too soon it was time to return to the harbour to catch the 6 pm boat
50 birds ringed (47 gulls and one each of the three breeding auk
day had been only modestly successful. However, it had been very
record the 2008 seabird season on the rocks around Sark, and it had, as
been a hugely enjoyable day out with Andy in Seamouse.