After the 10 hour journey up throughout the night, we were completely shattered whilst waiting at the harbour. Small flocks of Twite flew past and a small handful of Rock Pipits, Wheatears and Pied Wagtails were feeding along the shoreline. We boarded the boat and made it onto the small island 20 minutes later. It wasn't long before we saw what was patrolling the skies, but Great Skuas. These birds breed on the island and were truly fantastic to see up close.
|Imagine that coming your way! .......Incoming!!!|
Another chick we found was probably about 3 weeks old
It was fascinating, being able to see these birds in the hand. I, up until that point had only ever seen one distant bird over the sea. We had about 3 hours of darkness because we were so far north, so we needed to work fast to try and ring as many birds as we could in the limited time
Through comparing and contrasting the birds, it was great to see the variation from one bird to the next. Overall, we caught 1,200 Storm Petrels and in that number, we had 120 re-traps from previous years, we also had a couple of foreigners ranging from Portuagal and Norway.
Also on the island, we had a go at 'spring' trapping Wheatears. We managed to catch 2 juvenilles which was nice to see!
I then went on a Snipe hunt and managed to find a nest of 4 eggs, followed by an individual just at the right age to be ringed.
Here's the cute factor... everybody say awww..!! A really nice bird with incredibly decorative facial markings.
I carried out a couple of sea watches whilst on the island and also was lucky enough to go on a boat trip to see the island from a different perspective. Manx Shearwaters and Fulmars graced over the sea, good numbers of Black Guillemots were also there to be seen
|Black Guillemot in Summer plumage - taken by Stephen Menzie|
In terms of plant life the only thing I found remotely interesting was this fine Marsh Orchid:
The sea life was a little more interesting with a quite a variety
|The red things are beadlet anenomes apparently!|