Friday, 1 June 2012

First blood to the seabirds

From gulls to auks, I started counting guillemot and razorbill plots today in glorious sun and just a light breeze. These are plots of 20 of the cliff faces around the island and the boundaries are marked on photographs that match up to fissures in the rock. This means that an exact part of the cliff face can be counted multiple times and multiple years, 5 times a year to be exact. This is done at the peak of the breeding cycle for these birds before they start leaving the cliffs, this and most other years means between 1st and 14th June. Though the numbers don't tell us much after one year, with many years data we can start to see population trends and see now if these auks are doing well or not so well. It is a very intensive task needing lots of concentration and in doing it you do start to feel a better understanding of the seabirds of the cliffs, a closeness even. So I set off this afternoon to start the very first plot for the season and before even I got to the first vantage point a herring gull smacked me on the back of the head with it feet in protest to me being in the colony. First blood to the seabirds but despite the gull protests I still love doing these plots and am looking forward to the next couple of weeks.
This is the bird coming in for another dive.

It just didn't like me sitting near its nest.

The result - I hope the gulls foot was stinging a bit.

One of the guillemot plots, horsehole stack.

Close up of horsehole stack.

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