Out for the Count

 

Greengates: one of the larger cliffs to count.

Greengates: one of the larger cliffs to count

 

Guillemots packed tightly together on the ledges.

Guillemots packed tightly on the ledges.

Kittiwakes sat on nests, making them easier to count.

Kittiwakes sat on nests, making them easier to count.

Friday 5th June comments: The beginning the of June hails the start of the seabird population counts but unfortunately the weather hasn’t been on our side. Strong winds aren’t much good for sitting on the edge of a cliff! We have now started (a few days later than planned) and the counts are coming along.

Counting all the cliff nesting birds is a massive task; it involves going from point to point carefully scanning through the colonies counting each Kittiwake, Shag and Fulmar nest and each individual Guillemot and Razorbill.

The Shags and Kittiwakes are fairly easy to count as they make distinct nests and we know that for each nest there are two breeding adults: one pair!

The Auks are a bit more of a challenge. It becomes tricky when there are massive cliff faces full of Guillemots and Razorbills.  The Guillemots can huddle together in vast numbers and the Razorbills hide in nooks and crannies, so this requires patience and a keen eye to carefully count through the colonies without losing track.

It is a mammoth task but an enjoyable one, I’ve seen a Razorbill chick hatching from its egg, Guillemots fighting amongst themselves and Shags feeding their young. It’s great to spend time observing these fantastic birds, a real privilege.

We are now half way through the counts but with the wind picking up again tomorrow it maybe another couple of days before we get back out counting again.  Once all the counts are complete and finalised we’ll bring you the final figures, so keep checking the blog for our latest seabird updates and more news from the May. 

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