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Wednesday 26 June 2013

Chick N "Neville" survives.

Chick N was not taken by a Herring Gull it's still alive and breathing this morning. Shelley suggested that I should name the chicks. We decided to call this chick "Neville" after William Neville, brother of King Edward IV, and owner of Lundy 1462-1463.

"Neville" wasn't fed in the two hours that I was at the survey ledge this morning, but there were 6 other feeds. Chicks Q, I, H, C, B and S were all fed this morning. More tomorrow, we're going around the island with Clive Pearson on the Jessica Hettie this afternoon.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Is this last view of Chick N?

Chick N may have been taken by a gull. 2 minutes after I finished filming, a Herring Gull swooped down and tried to snatch something from the ledge. I couldn't tell whether the gull was successful, the parent didn't look upset, but I'll have to wait until Wednesday morning to find out.

Chick N

In other news: there are now at least 8 chicks on the ledge. Pairs B, C, E, H, I, N(possibly), Q and S all have chicks. Pairs A and M have no chicks or eggs. Pair G and possibly pair F are still sitting on eggs, and I'm still not sure about pairs O, P and R.

Egg G

 There were 5 feeds during my 2 hour survey this morning. Chicks B, I and S were fed once, and Chick F was again fed twice.

More news tomorrow.

Monday 24 June 2013

Guillemot pair D have lost their chick.

My first visit to the ledge since Thursday resulted in one loss and one gain. The loss was Chick D. I'd seen this chick fed twice last week. Today its parents were bringing fish to an empty ledge. 2011 was the only year that I've seen this pair raise a chick to "fledging".

The gain was chick B. Today was the first day that I'd seen the second parent returning to the ledge, so it was difficult to tell whether they had a chick or an egg. Their fish disappeared quickly, confirming the presence of a chick.

In total there were 8 feeds this morning. Chicks E, I, & H all received two feeds. Chick Q had a single feed.

Chick N was also seen, or at least I saw its beak poking out from under its parent's wing. More news tomorrow.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Guillemot pair F do have an egg

The strong winds have kept me away from the ledges, but it has meant that I've been able to review my previous footage. I found this on the the tape from the 14th June:

That little blue shape in the centre of the image? That's a egg that I hadn't noticed. I'd seen this pair without an egg on the 4th June, but I'd assumed that it was too late in the season for them to lay another egg.

Common Guillemots can lay a second egg if the first is lost, and occasionally a third egg if the second is also lost. Replacement eggs are usually laid ~15 days after the lost of the previous egg and are around 6% lighter than first eggs.

It will be a race against time for this pair. By the time their egg hatches sometime between 10th and 14th July, most of the other chicks will have gone to sea. This will mean less birds on the ledge and more opportunities for predators.

The winds are lighter tomorrow morning - and for the next few days. I'll let you know how the chicks are doing.

Friday 21 June 2013

Foggy today but 4 feeds yesterday morning.

I arrived at St Philip's Stone this morning and I couldn't see the sea. It has given me a chance to catch up with yesterday's filming.

I saw 4 feeds yesterday; chicks D and N were both fed once, and chick H had two feeds.

I didn't see any new chicks, but guillemot B was sitting with "drooped-wings" this is sometimes a sign that a chick is present.

The weather forecast says that there are NW gale force winds on the way - it looks like Monday morning before I get to film again. I hope that all is well with the chicks over the weekend.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

More Guillemot chicks hatched

More Guillemot chicks have hatched, making at least 6 chicks on my provisioning ledge this morning. I saw 5 feeds and I saw a couple of the chicks for the first time.

You just get a glimpse of this chick highlighted with the circle. This chick is at least 4 days old. It was this chick that got the first observed feed of the 2013 season on the 16th June.

As we don't have a colour-ringing scheme on Lundy, I identify the Guillemots by their relative positions on the ledge. The pair at this location, Site E, has successfully raised chicks every year since 2010.

These are the positions of the Guillemots in 2008. So far in 2013 I've identified chicks at sites D, E, H, I, N and Q (and apart from chick H, all of these chicks received fish this morning). A, F and M have either not laid eggs this year or have lost them. B, C, G, O, P, R, and S are either still sitting on eggs or are doing a very good job of hiding their chicks.

More updates soon, it looks like there is rain on the way, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to film again.


Tuesday 18 June 2013

3 Guillemot chicks fed this morning.

Seabird breeding season is my favourite time on Lundy. The highlight for me is when the auks start to bring back fish for their young. Puffins and Razorbills with beaks crammed full of Sand-eels or Guillemots with just a single fish.

I've been watching the Guillemots provision their chicks since 2006. The first year I just used a telescope, but since then I've been filming the ledges as well.

This particular ledge is near St Philip's Stone on the west coast. Today, I know that there are at least 3 chicks, and I'm expecting more to hatch any day. It looks like there could be 13 chicks when they've all hatched.

Things seem to be slightly behind this year. On this day last year there were 11 chicks on this ledge and they received a total of 15 feeds from their parents in 2 hours. This is an exceptionally  high rate - usually a chick will receive one fish in 4 hours.

Monday 10 June 2013

Sightings 11th - 25th May 2013

During a couple of weeks of mixed weather I managed to identify 42 species, mostly all the usual suspects. At Jenny's Cove up to 30 Puffins were seen on the land at any one time. Some were collecting nest material, but none returning from the sea were bringing in food. Peregrines were also active in various locations with at least one nest with a chick. There was a lot of activity on top of the island from Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Wheatears, but a number of people commented on the fact that not a single Stonechat had been seen. Swallows, House Martins and Swifts were flying over the top of the island daily, and good numbers of Spotted Flycatchers were active around Millcombe and the east side. Lesser Redpolls were also frequently spotted.
The highlight for me was seeing an Osprey flying north over the island on the 15th. Four were seen by various observers during my stay.

Lesser Redpoll