Saturday, 1 October 2016


Female Stonechat

The main contingent of the Northants Ringing Group arrived back from the Pembrokeshire island of Skokholm this evening, the weather conditions ensuring we had an extended stay beyond our planned seven days!

During our stay we managed to ring 300 birds and processed another 116 previously-ringed individuals. Manx Shearwaters breed on this very small island in their thousands and the majority of the adults have now left. They leave behind the very vulnerable youngsters that have to crawl out of their tunnel nests and strengthen their wings over several nights and then return to their tunnels prior to dawn before they are caught, killed and eaten by Great Black-backed Gulls.

So at night we ventured out along a stipulated transect and ringed 122 of these amazing sea-birds.

During the day, when the opportunities permitted, we used mist nets, heligoland traps and a variety of smaller traps to catch and ring both resident and migrant passerines. We were also lucky to catch the island apex predator, the stunning adult Great Black-backed Gull!

My thanks to Helen Franklin, Rory Akam, Chris Payne and Kenny Cramer for making our fourth expedition to the island another resounding success, and of course the wardens Giselle and Richard and the island volunteers for providing the opportunity for contributing something towards the work of the observatory.

A few images of some of the island birds...


Neil M




Great Black-backed Gull


Pied Flycatcher

Male Stonechat


Rock Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Manx Shearwater

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