Godin and Galeu, the Humps

 09 June

After an hour to recuperate from the strenuous activities of the day recording and ringing seabirds on Jethou, Jamie and Mish Hooper and Paul Veron headed out at 6 p.m., courtesy of Dave Perrio, to The Humps north of Herm. It was a fast ride out around the north of Herm, although we went slowly through the very rocky passage to the islets. Although cloudy with a freshening SE wind, the sea conditions were good.

 There was only time to land on the two nearest islets – Godin and Galeu. This was, however, very worthwhile with another nine Great Cormorants (from three nests) and 20 European Shag being ringed on Godin, and 34 European Shag and a single Great Black-backed Gull on Galeu. We could not approach the eastern end of Godin as it was crowded with fully fledged Cormorants and Shag. Working around the western shoreline we found several Shag nests with chicks ready for ringing. A couple of Common Terns called overhead while we were on the islet, but we did not see any nests or eggs of this species. By contrast Great Black-backed Gulls were very much in evidence with 40-50 adult birds overhead. Incredibly we did not find a single chick, although we were very mush focussed on ringing the shags on this visit. A few pairs of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also present with their chicks just beginning to hatch.

 After half an hour we moved across to the adjacent islet of Galeu. Here we noticed how the winter storms were continuing to erode parts of this very small and low-lying islet. We worked very fast to ring 34 Shag from c 20 active nests. Just before we finished Dave called for help to keep the boat afloat in the shallow lagoon where we had landed. If we had not immediately pushed the boat out further we would have been spending the whole night on the Humps (a less than attractive proposition after the long day in the field we had already had!).

 Heading back to the boat over the tiny storm beach, we stumbled across one Great Black-backed Gull chick that was large enough o take a metal ring. There must have been several more on the islet judging from the activity of adult birds overhead – but just as on Godin we failed to locate them.

 One Grey Seal was seen some distance from the boat. All in all a very successful trip out with some valuable monitoring achieved and another 64 seabirds ringed.




10 June 2010