– 28 and 29 July 2006
in Sark on the 5pm
boat on Friday with all our camping gear.
Luckily Phil Perree from the Sablonerie was able to offer us a
our gear in the tractor, which he very kindly left outside his cottage. We plodded up the hill to collect our bikes
from the hire shop and then after a bite of delicious supper of scampi
freshly fried chips at the Polygon Restaurant we headed over to Little
On recovering our tent etc
from Phil’s cottage we balanced all the gear on our bikes and
headed down the
cliff path to the Venus Pool. With the
light already beginning to fade, we set up the poles along a ridge of
which seemed to offer the best advantage, looking out towards
L’Etac de Serk
with the previously occupied Manx Shearwater burrows in close proximity. With little rain over the past few months,
the ground was impenetrable. This made
the use of stakes impossible and so finding suitably positioned rocks
which to fasten the nets ties was an important challenge.
the three (12 m North
Ronaldsey) nets were up, we pitched the tent further up the slope where
formal cliff path peters out and waited for darkness to fall. A slight
picked up when we opened the nets and put the Storm Petrel tape on at
there was still plenty of pocket available.
At 10.30ish Andy Cook turned up eager to get his first view of
Petrels/Manx Shearwaters in the hand.
But after a few disappointing checks to the nets and the sharing
cup of tea they left with no birds seen.
However at half past midnight CK came back with the first Storm
in the hand. Could this be a
prospecting youngster or was it already established in a nest somewhere
L’Etac? Whatever its reason for
there, this individual is the first Storm Petrel to have been ringed in
the next few hours we
ringed a total of 4 Storm Petrels and heard three calls of over-flying
Shearwaters at which point we changed the tape to Manx Shearwater in
that this might lure the birds down to check out the noise but to no
avail. PV checked the burrows towards the
the evening using a lamp but no birds were spotted.
The nets were closed at 0330 by which time the wind had
next day we took up
Andy’s generous offer of breakfast.
Walking down the garden path we couldn’t help but be
amazed at the
clouds of butterflies, mostly speckled woods and small coppers but also
handful of fritillaries some of which were just too quick to identify. After a delicious breakfast overlooking the
cliffs of Little Sark, we headed back to pack up our tent, only to have
shelter in it from a rather heavy downpour.
However, after the rain and once the tent was packed up, we
around the cliff area looking for suitable burrows, many of which were
precariously close to the edge and pondered on the likeliness of the
use of all
the possible burrows further along the headland which were out of human
reach. Various visitors asked
directions for the Venus Pool which was now submerged below the high
a scrumptious cream
tea at the Sablonerie tearoom, we headed over to the north end of Sark
our luck at L’Eperquerie. PV had
permission from the Seigneur. However, the weather was looking less
with winds picking up and a poor forecast for the evening.
We pitched our tent on a rather exposed site
well above the Manx Shearwater site and whilst the tide was low we
small islet of La Grune.
islet had obviously
been home to a number of Herring Gulls, with evidence of breeding in
places, although all chicks had now fledged and were happily bobbing in
watching our progress. A number of dead
chicks were picked up. A few rabbits raced
from under rocks and in places their digging was obvious.
A number of suitable burrows for Manx
Shearwaters also existed, and there were many suitable sites also for
Petrels, although no firm evidence of these birds was found. We conjectured that an earlier visit in 2007
might well produce some reasonable gull numbers.
on mainland Sark we
headed back to the village for some supper, and repeated our scampi and
feast which had proved so successful the night before.
On our return trip we came across Dave from
the Clos de Manage Guesthouse who offered us a spare room should the
away – which it nearly had! So a
decamp was undertaken to a more sheltered location, and then two (12 m
Ronaldsey) mist nets were put up, running along the edge of the short
darkness fell at 10pm
we put on the Storm Petrel tape and opened up the nets which were
to the point that any greater wind velocity and it would not be worth
continuing. We retired to the tent. PV extracted two Storm Petrels at 11 ish
both directly above the tape recorder.
After several close Manx Shearwater calls we decided to switch
over but after a short spell of rain and continued wind CK furled the
nets. By this time PKV (who had worked
through the previous night had fallen asleep). About a dozen Manx
calls were heard in total during the night although no birds were seen.
furled nets were taken down at dawn after a pretty restless night (for
After a long trudge back up the hill with all the gear in the early
settled for a slap up breakfast at the Avail de Creux where upon both
managed to fall asleep at the table!
whilst ringing totals were low for the trip, the birds (both Storm
Manx Shearwaters) are indeed there which is fantastic. It had been 17
since PKV had last ringed Manx Shearwater chicks on Little Sark. With
weather there must be a good chance of learning a bit more of the
the Storm Petrels which are close offshore at both ends of the island,
luck there may just be a shearwater chick for CK to ring on a return
the end of August.