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End of the Week and End of the Trip.

Friday, July 1st 2016

Today, like any other Friday, the end-of-week jobs were completed. Colin, one of our volunteers came in to fill the bird feeders ready for bird ringing at the weekend. It is now looking likely that ringing will take place on Sunday and not Saturday as the weather is looking better on Sunday. The day also involved mowing the last of the ringing net rides ready for the weekend, emptying the bins and other admin tasks. The water voles were fed, as were the tadpoles, bees and the Ermine moth caterpillars. These are now getting very large!

The Cape Wrath ringers are on their way home as I write this, having set off first thing this morning. They shouldn’t have too far to go now. They have been able to get out in the boats in the last couple of days, and have sent through some lovely pictures of their antics. Here are some of them.

Here are some Common Guillemots on their nesting ledges. These are likely to have been ringed. The ringers carry long poles with a hook on the end which works like a shepherd crook. The birds can be gently lifted off the ledges with the hook, ringed, and replaced. All birds are ringed as part of the BTO scheme, under licence, and with the welfare of the bird of paramount importance. 

The ringers have also managed a night of Storm Petrel ringing. This involves setting up loud speakers playing storm petrel calls to lure in the birds from the sea, then catching them in mist nets- this part is exactly the same as a normal ringing session at Foxglove. The only difference is that Storm Petrels come out at night, so the whole operation is done during the hours of darkness out of the back of a landrover and by torchlight! It is quite a surreal experience standing in the dark on the cliffs with the call of storm petrels booming out across the wilderness and the waves crashing far below. The pictures are not that clear but hopefully give you the idea.

Here are some of the team searching for Arctic Tern chicks.

Arctic Tern chicks look like this…

Thanks go to Colin for filling the feeders today and to Jerusha who has been with us all week for work experience. She has been a great help! Also thanks to the Cape Wrath folk for keeping us up to date with their steady stream of photos.


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