Tuesday, 24 January 2017

My 2016

It has been far too long since my last blog- not due to lack of material, in fact quite the opposite- it has been a struggle trying to fit everything in!

With that in mind I thought I would summarise and share some photos of my favourite wildlife adventures of 2016...

Ailsa Craig:
Last summer I had the pleasure of joining other RSPB staff on a trip to Ailsa Craig for several days to undertake various seabird surveys. We had blazing hot sunshine, slow-worms and thousands of seabirds- my idea of heaven!
Ailsa Craig
Mighty seabird cliffs of Ailsa Craig
Guillemots on the cliffs of Ailsa
June is a busy month for seabird population counts, monitoring and ringing and not coincidentally my favourite time of year!
Lots of seabird ringing in 2016!
In 2016 I tried to undertake as much bird ringing as possible, building on my restricted BTO C-permit. Lots of 'new' species for me in 2016: Meadow Pipits, Gannets, Twite, Reed Bunting, Redwing but one of my favourites was Barn Owlets.

Ringing and processing barn owl chicks- a birthday to remember
Scar Rocks, Mull of Galloway
In July I had a trip to the Scar Rocks (6 miles offshore from the Mull of Galloway) to ring Gannets- one of my dreams come true!
2,500 pairs of Gannets nest on the Big Scar. Mull of Galloway on the horizon

Living the dream- I smiled like a Cheshire cat for days!
One of the other highlights from 2016 was joining a small team to colour ring Gannet fledglings on Bass Rock- my dream come true!

My dream come true! Ringing Gannets on Bass Rock
Vis Migging at the Mull of Galloway:
I am so fortunate to work in such a fantastic wildlife location- the RSPB Mull of Galloway. Thousands of birds travel through the reserve as they head South to their winter grounds. In 2016 we recorded some high numbers of various species such as Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Goldfinches and thrushes. Phenomenal experience!
One of the thousands of Skylarks travelling through the Mull of Galloway in Autumn 2016
With thousands of birds migrating through it is inevitable that something more unusual will turn up. You can imagine my surprise when I found a Red-breasted flycatcher- an Eastern European breeder. This was only the 4th ever record for Dumfries and Galloway!

Red breasted flycatcher on the Mull of Galloway
Looking forward to seeing what wildlife adventures 2017 holds!