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It’s been a busy July on CBO. Although we are still operating restricted manning, with overnight stays limited to two bubbles, we have managed to pack in quite a bit. Early July is ringing time for some of our gull (Herring & Lesser Black-backed) and Black guillemot chicks. On Saturday 10th, the CBO team were joined by Katherine Booth Jones & Daniel Johnston, two scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Katherine and Daniel have been conducting fieldwork under the MarPAMM project, tagging and tracking adult Black guillemots at various locations around our coast - including Lighthouse Island. The combined CBO/BTO effort resulted in 18 BG chicks, 39 Herring gull, and 31 Lesser Black-backed chicks being ringed.Weekend teams have continued with our ongoing Manx shearwater ringing project, now in its 58th year. On the night of Sat 24th July a bird (ring EJ13537) was recorded at the East Pub shearwater sub-colony which had been ringed as a chick on 28th August 1981 – almost 40 years beforehand! It’s amazing to consider the longevity of these birds. When this bird was ringed, Maggie Thatcher was PM, Shakin’ Stevens was in the charts with ‘Green Door’, and Coe & Ovett were interchanging the world mile record!The early morning passerine ringing – the mainstay of our ringing programme - has also continued, though numbers so far have been poor (partly due to Covid restrictions impacting manning), but includes Meadow Pipit, Blackcap, Willow warbler, Wren, Sedge warbler, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin and Whitethroat. Nocturnal ringing hasn’t been restricted to manxies; so far 17 European Storm petrels have been caught using tape lure. This figure includes one control – a bird ringed elsewhere - and we look forward to finding out the original ringing details. Storm petrels are a delicate looking - but hard-as-nails - little seabird and are usually seen only far offshore. Perhaps these birds may be scoping out future breeding grounds – one to watch in the future.The Puffins have been active, with counts over fifty recorded regularly. On Sat 24th, two were observed delivering a catch of Sand-eels to burrows.The habitat work is continuing, and last year’s purchase of four Austrian Scythes has proved a very useful investment. The growth this year has been astonishing, presumably due to a wet delayed spring combined with the recent heatwave.Finally, it’s not just birds! Moth trapping has become increasingly popular, and the photos show some recent catches (Moth names are brilliant!).One other event of note was a botanical survey of the two outer islands, Lighthouse and Mew, conducted by local botanical recorders on 6th July. The aim of this is to establish a baseline record for future reference, and match our present flora against historical records. Many thanks to the Royal Irish Academy for supporting this project through their Praeger Grant in Natural History. The list is still being compiled but did include a few new records for Lighthouse Island. ... See MoreSee Less
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What a lovely story! Many congratulations to Heather & David from CBO. ... See MoreSee Less
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The CBO Manx Shearwaters will feature on BBC Springwatch tonight. Tune in to BBC Two at 8pm to see if Gillian Burke will follow in the footsteps of Chris Packham and sniff a Copeland Manxie, as he did back in 2010!Megan McCubbin Hannah Stitfall BTO British Trust for Ornithology Northern Ireland Seabird Network ... See MoreSee Less
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It was a monitoring day on the outer islands on Sunday 16th May, with one team ringing Eider duck on Mew Island, and another conducting a large gull nest count (Herring & Lesser black-backed) on Lighthouse Island. On Mew, 25 new Eider were trapped and ringed (all females) and, just as importantly, 24 previously ringed birds were retrapped. Considering the birds we missed, we reckon the outer Copeland islands must host around 200 breeding Eider - making them one of the most important sites for this sea duck around the Irish coast. On Lighthouse island a team of 9 counted gull nests - using the standard technique of dropping pasta shells beside the nest and counting what’s left over. 975 nests were counted, with an estimate breakdown of 585:390 (HG: LBBG), again indicating the importance of the island as a safe breeding site, particularly for the red-listed (Birds of Conservation Concern) Herring Gull. Fifty Puffin were counted, and sighting of the day was a Bonxie (Great skua) flying into Belfast Lough, and our first Spotted flycatcher of the season on the island. ... See MoreSee Less
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Last weekend saw the first overnight stay at CBO of 2021 though under current restrictions only one household/bubble can stay at any one time for the moment. So it was a quiet enough boat that headed out from Donaghadee on Friday evening with just two of us headed out to the island to stay. Upon first arrival we were treated to beautiful carpets of bluebells across the island and the front of the house is a riot of narcissus! We did not have the island to ourselves for too long as we were joined by a group of volunteers out for a day trip on Saturday to do some habitat management on the island. They did a brilliant job and were hard at work scything and mowing for most of the day! We are incredibly thankful for their hard work! Birds-wise, the island was similarly quiet with few migrants about potentially due to the calm, sunny weather. Some ringing highlights include 2 willow warblers, a chiffchaff and a wheatear. We also had a soaring buzzard over the island on Saturday and Sunday and a peregrine chilling out on Mew on Saturday. Ringing totals for the weekend include (numbers in brackets indicate birds previously caught): Wren 3 (5)Willow Warbler 1 (1)Reed Bunting 2Robin (1)Song Thrush 1Meadow Pipit 1 (2)Wheatear 1Blackbird (1)Chiffchaff 1 ... See MoreSee Less
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