The Humps and Herm

14 April 2014

I took advantage of an Environment Department RIB trip out to The Humps and around Herm to take an early look at the 2014 seabird breeding season out there. Andy McCutcheon and Paul Fisher, RSPB were also aboard. We left St Peter Port Harbour at 11.00 with Pierre of Island Rib Adventures at the helm. On the way out to the Humps we paused briefly around the base of Brehon Tower. One pair of Great Black-backed Gulls looked to have a probable territory on the fort.

Next stop was Longue Pierre, where the ridge of the islet held c 30 European Shags. Although one Great Cormorant flew over we did not see any ashore, so it is likely that this year all the Great Cormorants are back on Godin (the colony was split between the islets in 2013, as in several previous years).

As well as 30+ European Shag, Great Black-backed Gulls looked present in good numbers (c 25 birds), but there were no signs of Common Guillemot or Atlantic Puffin. Pierre had seen six Guillemots off Longue Pierre the week before. Leaving the islet we saw a couple of Razorbills in flight.

A slow cruise around Godin showed the Great Cormorant colony to be in reasonable shape with c 30+ adults present, many setting tight on nests. Only one nest with half-grown young was seen, but recording was very difficult from the boat. No landings were attempted. Great Black-backed Gulls were present in usual numbers (c 40+ adults). No auks recorded ashore or in the immediate area.

We then motored slowly around Herm’s eastern cliffs from Belvoir Bay to Rosaire Steps. Six+ Northern Fulmars were observed on the cliffs, along with a very few European Shags. Herring Gulls looked rather thinly spread along the cliff coastline – almost all Herring Gulls (80+ pairs), with a few pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls.

No Atlantic Puffins were recorded in the usual bays, although I had seen one bird in the area a few days’ previously (as had Pierre).

Pierre dropped us on Herm for a quick walk to Shell Beach and back, before catching the 14.35 Herm Trident back to Guernsey.


15 April 2014