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The first week of June, 3rd & 7th, saw Paul and myself out and about in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire checking our owl boxes on behalf of Bisham Barn Owl Group

Barn owl pulli

Barn owl pulli

A week on the Isle of May 13th – 20th

Having missed out previously, it’s a very popular location for photographers, artists and ringers alike, and with limited space, a team of us, Carl, Paul, Marie, Tonia, Stuart and myself managed to secure a week on the ‘May’ in June.

The Isle of May boasts Scotland’s oldest Bird Observatory, which was founded in 1934, and is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants and terns, it is also a stop-off point for many migrating species.

Transfer out to the island was courtesy of Roy, aboard the RIB “Osprey”, an interesting and rather exciting 25 minute journey due to the wind and a choppy swell which had us all thankful for the supplied waterproofs!
Osprey

 

The island has two accommodation area’s; the main block which is home throughout the season to the reserve staff and volunteers who monitor the vast and varied wildlife and the Lowlight Lighthouse which is where visiting ringers, birdwatchers and artists stay, duration is limited to one week.

 

Lowlight - IoM

Lowlight – IoM

The accommodation is well-appointed considering it’s an old lighthouse stuck on a rock, a recently added block consisting of 3 bedrooms, toilet and a solar-powered shower have really added ‘stars’ and a level of comfort previously missing, it’s not quite living off-grid but pretty close!

The six of us quickly settled in to island life and found a routine that suited all.

As always with ringing the weather plays a major factor in activities and that was certainly the case on the ‘May’, and as you’d expect the wind played its part and at times hampered our mist net deployment, however, there was plenty of other ringing to be had which the wind didn’t affect.

Throughout the week we were involved in various ringing activities; we helped catch and ring Puffins, part of one of the schemes being carried out on the island

Puffin

Puffin

we were able to ring Shags, Razorbills and Guillemots

 

 

Shag

Shag

 

Razorbill

Razorbill

 

Guillemots

Guillemots

along with some pulli ringing which included, Oystercatchers, Herring & Lesser black-backed gulls.

Gull egg hatching

Gull egg hatching

 

Oystercatcher pulli

Oystercatcher pulli

 

Gull pulli

Gull pulli

 

Gull pulli

Gull pulli

We visited the 4 heligoland traps a couple of times a day throughout the week

Heligoland trap

IoM scenic

Heligoland trap

and deployed mist nets when we could, these turned up a few species between them including; Rock pipits, Nightingale, Starling, Chiffchaff, Robin, Willow warbler, Pied wagtail, Dunnock, Songthrush, Blackcap, Lesser whitethroat, Garden warbler and Wren.

A fantastic week came to an end far to quickly and after a big clean up of the accommodation we packed and headed off to the boat, the trip back to the mainland was rather less wet and we were able to take in final views off the island as we departed, before we knew it we were back on the mainland and packing the car ready for the journey home.

I will return…

Photo gallery –

IoM scenic

IoM scenic

 

Guano cliff

Guano cliff

 

Fulmar

Fulmar

 

Lighthouse by Robert Stevenson

Lighthouse by Robert Stevenson

 

Razorbill

Razorbill

 

IoM scenic

IoM scenic

 

Puffin on the wing

Puffin on the wing

 

DSC00600

Midnight on the ‘May’

 

IoM scenic

IoM scenic

 

Monday 22nd June

Back to one of our Kestrel boxes to ring a couple of pulli.

Kestrel pulli

Kestrel pulli

 

Friday 26th June

A very enjoyable chat by Mark Avery at the Surrey bird club.

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…the Farm for 3 weeks, the crops are growing  slowly due to lack of rain but they are growing! It’s really nice to see all the trees in full leaf and green.

Plenty of young juvenile birds flying around at the moment including Blackbird, Blue tits and Song Thrush. Adults spotted included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Jay, Whitethroat and Skylarks.

Also spotted the Blue tit family that recently fledged box 1 in the garden, in the garden!

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…spotting and counting birds! I was out  for 2 hours doing a survey and what a lovely warm sunny evening it was too, the wildlife was  abundant and vespertine.

The evening air was filled with a miriad of insects, fresh spring aromas and a euphony of birdsong, a very relaxing evening indeed.

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…for a survey this evening and what a beautiful evening it was too, sunny, warm, farmer working the land, rabbits feeding on the margins, plenty of bird action and even caught a fleeting glimps of a Roe deer…glorious evening in the English countryside!

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Sunset - Epsom Downs Oct'10

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Sunset - Epsom Downs Oct'10

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Sunset - Epsom Downs Oct'10

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