Saturday, 29 June 2013

Colour ringing on Skokholm and Midland Islands

Today I joined members of the Pembrokeshire ringing group and the Teifi ringing group to ring Puffins on Skokholm island and Shag pulli on Midland island. We landed on Skokholm at about 12.15pm and were greeted by the wardens Richard and Giselle with cups of tea supplied by the holiday guests. The target for the day was 50 Puffins and as far as I am aware this is the third year that this event has taken place. Altogether we caught 51 birds which were fitted with BTO and colour rings.

This year as in previous years the Puffins have been caught using a mist net in Crab Bay. As the Puffins come off the sea they fly directly into the net, they are then extracted by some of the team ready for processing.

The BTO ring was fitted to the left leg with a black and green striped colour ring above that. The colour signifies it is a 2013 bird. On the right leg two other colour rings were fitted and the sequence in which this is done makes it unique to this bird. So, in future surveys identification of a bird can be determined from the colours it has fitted to its legs through binoculars.

Final squeeze to close the ring

All information including wing measurement and the weight of the bird is recorded. In the picture below you can see all the different colour rings that were used.

Ringing is something different and many members of the public have never seen it before. The majority of the people standing around were people on holiday. They were taking loads of pictures of our activities. Several of them helped us out on the day and it is always nice to get the public involved.

Job  done

Finally we went over to Midland to see if there were any Shag pulli to ring. Not for the feint hearted because the island is steep, grassy and foothold can be unpredictable at times. We found 19 chicks that were ring-able and a lot more that were too small, we also found several nests with eggs.

Wendy just finishing off her first bird.

There were quite a few Shag nests with eggs. I have to wonder if it may be getting a little late for these to go the full term and fledge.

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