Sunday, 23 July 2017

LRG & FSG trip to Inchkeith Saturday 08/07/2017

12 of us met at Granton harbour for the annual trip to Inchkeith to primarily ring Kittiwakes. Our boat was arranged to leave at 09:00hrs, arriving on Inchkeith for around 09:30hrs. The trip and all relevant permissions to land on the island were organised by Lothian Ringing Group & Forth Seabird Group members.

Looking back at Granton Harbour

Inchkeith was once a strategic location for a lighthouse and for defending the Firth of Forth from attack. In 1986 the lightkeepers were withdrawn when the lighthouse became automated and the owners, the Northern Lighthouse board, sold the island. It is now partly owned by Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Puffins, Shags, Razorbill, Guillemot etc... for a few months of the year.

Perfect weather for our island trip!
Arriving on Inchkeith 

As the team disembarked, we could hear the familiar call of "Kittiwake" from around the cliffs where they were nesting. We quickly put most of our rucksacks into one of the abandoned outbuildings for safe keeping from the inhabitants. There was no way we would chance leaving our food out in the open for the Gulls to have a feast, our boat wasn't coming back until 17:00hrs!

After the team briefing of do's and don'ts while we were ringing on the island it was then time for us to head off to ring some Kittiwakes and any incidentals that we could also ring on the day.

The team being made aware of island ringing rules
For some of us it was a very useful learning curve with a few members never having ringed Kittiwakes. Before too long we were upon the cliffs where the Kittiwakes were nesting.

Easy does it, ringing the chicks on the nest
Carefully placing the chicks back on the nest
Staying on the island for near enough 8 hrs was giving us plenty time to try and catch some adults, we were hoping that this would bring us some re-traps from previous years. We weren't disappointed, we managed to re-trap 10 on the day along with another 11 new adults ringed.

One of the adults caught
We managed to ring 127 Kittiwakes: 106 chicks, 21 Adults & re-trapped 10 from previous years.

If you do happen to read one of our Kittiwake rings, please let us know. Below is the reward we receive, these are some of our most recent re-sighted birds from Inchkeith, this gives us a real insight into where our birds like to holiday.

Ring no: Date ringed Sighted by non-ringer  Date Distance (km)
ET66991 16.07.2001 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France  20.04.2017

EG46119 05.07.2003 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 15.04.2017
EG46119 05.07.2003 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 04.07.2017
EG46119 05.07.2003 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 06.07.2017
EG46119 05.07.2003  Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 15.07.2017

EL98111 14.07.2007 Cap Blanc Nez, Escalles, Pas-de-Calais, France  24.04.2017
EL98111 14.07.2007 Cap Blanc Nez, Escalles, Pas-de-Calais, France  13.07.2017

 The team also managed to ring:

Catching Shag chicks
 2 Adult Puffins & 1 puffling.

25 Shag chicks, 1 re-trap Adult & 4 colour rings read.

1 Adult Razorbill & 2 chicks

Descending after ringing Shag chicks

Well done to everyone who volunteer and spend their time ringing seabirds on the Forth Islands throughout the summer months!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

CES Visit 5 18/6/2017

Visit 5 produced our first Juvenile Treecreepers' of the season although we hadn't seen or heard any adults in our previous sessions we knew that they must be around as it seems we haven't failed on catching any in the last few years, it was Visit 5 in 2016 that we also caught our first Juv Treec, that day last year only produced the one, this year we caught 5 juv in this session, great to see that they've all survived our very wet June long enough to fledge. We also caught our first juvenile Coal Tit's of the year.  A returning Chiffchaff that was ringed as a Juvenile in June 2015 was the first re-capture of this bird, did we miss it in 2016 or did it breed somewhere else?

One of 5 Treecreepers caught today

Species Total New Retraps

Blue Tit


Coal Tit



Great Tit



Willow Warbler
13 Species

We managed to catch 36 birds this visit compared to 34 in 2016

Monday, 3 July 2017

Leith Dock Terns

A successful trip was undertaken to the Leith Dock ternery to count common tern nests and to ring chicks during the visit on Saturday 17 June. A total of 995 nests were recorded in the main colony, with an additional ten on a separate jetty; amounting to a record total of 1005 apparently occupied nests (AONs). This is the highest count on record and is a large increase on last year with 720 AONs. 103 common tern chicks were ringed during the brief visit. (All photos Carmen & Euan Ferguson).
Ringing in the colony. Hard hats and hi-vis are required by the Ports Authority

The colony on the 'island' pier

John Davies closely monitors the colony, he organised and led the trip and captained the LRG dinghy!

Leaving the colony.

Huge thanks to John Davies for organising everything surrounding the session and to the team Laura, Carmen and Euan.