Return to the Isle of Puffins
Autumn attendance of Common Guillemots on Lundy in 2008
Interim results - 22/11/08
Common Guillemots disperse to sea after breeding where they become flightless during their pre-basic moult (Birkhead & Taylor 1977). Breeding birds at the south of their European range make brief visits to their breeding ledges from October onwards (Harris & Wanless 1990). Autumn records on Lundy are sparse, and some reports do not record whether birds were seen at sea or on land. This survey attempts to improve on this situation.

  • Lundy 7th Nov (Davis & Jones 2007), 27th Oct (this study)
  • Berry Head 22 Oct (Sitters 1988), mid October (Nigel Smallbones, pers. comm.)
  • Skomer October (Tim Birkhead, pers. comm.)
  • Isle of May October (Harris & Wanless 1990), 2 records of September (Harris et.al. 2006)
  • Shetland October - November, varying with population size (Harris et.al. 2006)
  • Flamborough Head October (FOG bird report 1994)
Attendance 6/10/08 - 21/11/08

Study Areas & Results

AZTEC BAY

St Mark's Stone (F12)
Viewed from the top of the rocky outcrop above Fe. This site was selected due to its proximity to the next two sites. Disturbance was estimated to be low. During the 2004 census 140 adults were counted on ledges at this site (Price 2004). However, the census used a viewing point further north (Fh) so some birds may have been unrecorded by this study.

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 12/11/08. However, on 19/11 and 20/11, small numbers were seen up to 40 minutes before sunrise. Therefore birds may have been present at this site before 12/11 but not recorded. Maximum count 100-150 birds on ledges 17/11/08.

St Philip's Stone (F4)
Viewed from the base of the second small buttress north of the Wendy Ann Mitchell Memorial. This site was selected as it contains a ledge used in the 2008 provisioning rate and parental attendance study. In that study, this site was viewed from Fe, but potential disturbance from that viewing point was estimated to be high. Therefore a new, low disturbance, viewing point was selected that also allowed good views of the next site. During the 2004 census, maximum counts were 94 and 28 adults on ledges G1 and G3 respectively (Price 2004). Ledge G2 was not visible in this study.

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 12/11/08. However, on 19/11 and 20/11, small numbers were seen up to 35 minutes before sunrise. On the 19/11 the birds were observed leaving ledges at 7.15am (30 minutes before sunrise) after a peregrine was heard calling. Therefore birds may have been present at this site before 12/11 but not recorded. Birds have only been recorded on ledge group G1. Maximum count 80-100 birds on ledges 12/11/08.

Grand Falls Zawn (F6)
Viewed from the base of the second small buttress north of the Wendy Ann Mitchell Memorial. This site was selected as it contains a ledge used in provisioning rate studies in 2006 & 2008 and in a parental attendance study in 2008. In those studies, this site was viewed from a point close to the ledges, but potential disturbance from that viewing point was estimated to be very high. The St Philip's Stone viewing point was used to study this site (see above). In addition, a medium disturbance viewing point was used in light winds. During the 2004 census, 213 adults were counted on ledges (Price 2004). However, the census used a viewing point further west (Ff) so some birds may not have been recorded by this study.

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 12/11/08. However, on 19/11 and 20/11, 1 and 2 birds were seen up to 35 minutes before sunrise. Therefore birds may have been present at this site before 12/11 but not recorded. Maximum count 151 birds on ledges 17/11/08.

JENNY'S COVE

Punchbowl Cliff (E3)
Initially viewed from the west end of halfway wall. The site was selected as it can be viewed from almost anywhere on the north and east of Jenny's Cove. This proved to be fortuitous when the Silver Slabs and Egyptian Slabs sites were added to the study. Disturbance was estimated to be low. During the 2004 census, 57 adults were counted on breeding ledges (Price 2004).

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 12/11/08. Maximum count 39 birds on ledges at 8.10am on 17/11/08.

Deep Zawn (E9)
Initially viewed from the west end of halfway wall, only a small part of this site (ledges G1 & G4) is observable. The site selected itself as it was first site where Guillemots were seen in 2008. It was not originally part of the study, but its was viewed on each survey day as it is next to a puffin breeding area. The site can be viewed from almost anywhere on the north and east of Jenny's Cove. Disturbance was estimated to be low. During the 2004 census, 15 adults were counted on ledges G1 & G4 (Price 2004).

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 27/10/08. Maximum count 17 birds on ledges on 15/11/08 & 17/11/08.

Additional information Although the rest of the site was not directly observed during this study, Guillemots were seen flying out from (presumably) ledge G3. During the 2004 census, a maximum count of 154 birds on ledge G3 was recorded (Price 2004). Birds were first seen flying out of Deep Zawn on the 27/10/08. Maximum count of approximately 100 birds flying out at 8.55am on 16/11/08 (perhaps disturbed by a Raven that flew low over E14 5 minutes later).

Silver Slabs (E11, Study Plot 6)
Viewed from the base of a broken buttress north of halfway wall. This site was not part of the the original study but was added with E14. The site was first viewed on 16/10/08 and added to the survey on 27/10/08. Disturbance is estimated to be low. During the 2004 census, a maximum count of 101 birds was recorded at breeding ledges (Price 2004). However, the census used a viewing point in the south of Jenny's Cove (Eb) and some birds have not been recorded by this survey. On 17/11/08, views from the south of Jenny's Cove (near the Earthquake), recorded some previously unseen birds.

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 29/10/08. Maximum count 60 birds on scattered ledges on 17/11/08. Birds may have been present 6/10 - 14/10 and 24/10 as this site was not surveyed on those dates.

Egyptian Slabs (E14, Study Plot 5)
Viewed from an isolated granite block upslope from the Pyramid. This site was not part of the the original study but, after discussions with Tony Taylor, this site was selected for a parental attendance study in summer 2009. The site was first viewed on 16/10/08 and added to the survey on 27/10/08. Disturbance was estimated to be medium. During the 2004 census, 146 birds were recorded at breeding ledges (Price 2004). However, the census viewing point was from the Pyramid (Ei) and some birds have not been recorded by this survey. On 17/11/08 views from the south of Jenny's Cove (near the Earthquake) recorded about 50 previously unseen birds.

Interim Results (22/11/08) Guillemots were first seen at this site on 27/10/08. Maximum counts of 125-150 birds on ledges on 13/11/08 and of 137 birds on ledges on 17/11/08. Birds may have been present 6/10 - 14/10 and 24/10 as this site was not surveyed on those dates.


References
Guillemot pre-breeding attendance

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