Tuesday 5th July comments: We can now finally bring you some good news, our breeding Guillemot counts are up, only slightly, but still up!
Guillemots are probably one of the hardest birds to count as they do not make a nest, hiding their single egg underneath them on crowded ledges amongst other individuals. A lot of patience is required as each individual on the cliffs is counted, by sitting on the cliff top scanning through counting the colony.
This year the number has risen 1% to 16,132 breeding pairs. It is not a massive increase but the colony is stable and slowly reaching the islands’ peak breeding total of 20,332 pairs recorded in 2004.
Although they may not be as bright and ‘in your face’ as Puffins, they have their own subtle brilliance that sets them apart from the rest. They can dive to depths of over 200 meters to catch their prey, around twice the depth of a Puffin.
If you are planning a visit in the coming weeks don’t expect to see quite as many as 16,132 as the cliffs are starting to empty and some of the young are already fledged. Not all have gone though so if you want to see our very own ‘Northern Penguin’ there is still time but you’ll have to be quick!