Storms and Seabirds

I have been quite busy in the last few days, as the weather has finally calmed down (a little bit!) and allowed for access to the island’s seabird colonies on the East Side. I have been helping out counting and ringing a broad selection of species on the island’s rocky cliffs. We have made some good progress in counting nests and breeding pairs, although many of the breeding species are still just a little behind in terms of ringing- almost all the auks are still on eggs. Some of our highest counts have included 30 Fulmars, two Storm Petrels, two Cormorants, 72 Shags, 267 Kittiwakes, 1000 Guillemots, 1595 Razorbills and 41 Puffins.

In addition to the breeding seabirds, it has been great to start seeing some emerging lepidoptera and insects around the island. Yesterday’s very calm and sunny weather encouraged a great selection of micro and macro moths out during the day, including the year’s first Thrift Clearwing, hundreds of Celypha cespitana and Lobesia littoralis, Teleiopsis diffinis, Bryotropha terrella, Elachista argentella, Rush Veneer and Pyrausta despicata. Fresh avian migrants have been very thin on the ground, although the last two days have been reasonable, with double figure counts of Spotted Flycatchers, along with a scattering of Reed Warblers, Whitethroats, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. A smart first summer female Red-breasted Flycatcher was great to see and ring this morning.

Here is a selection of images from the last week:

I used a Canon 15mm fisheye lens on my 7D mkII to get some close-up landscape images of these Razorbills. They were very tame and thus allowed a close proximity. This worked really well for grabbing some wide-angle shots. I hope to be able to continue this project and produce a few more interesting environmental images

The howling south-westerly gales produced some very impressive swells and rolling breakers around the coast. It was tricky to capture any decent images of passing seabirds because of their distance from the shore. This was my best attempt at a Manx Shearwater
Kittiwake on the East Side
There are a minimum of three, and perhaps as many as five pairs of Little Owls on the island this year. One or two of the pairs are quite predictable in where they show, and so some reasonable images can be taken. This bird has been sitting out on a regular perch just above our house on the mountainside. Although they are obviously nesting in one of the banks nearby, we have been unable to locate the nest as yet

It has been great to see so many Spotted Flycatchers around the island in the last few days. Some years we can have triple figure counts, but this year has been more of a steady trickle. Over 20 have been several times in the last week. 

Linnet

There are a lot of Wheatears around the coast feeding hungry chicks at the moment, and the combination of the vivid emerging thrift makes for some pretty stunning views and spectacles

A Sanderling treading water
You can also view my images at the following links: 

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