Friday, 20 May 2011

A Hop Over the Water…

I’m just back from spending a class few days on the Isle of Man with Sean & Kev of the IOM ringing group. It being my first visit to the Island, my arrival day was planned by Sean to tour around & do some sight seeing. However ever the enthusiast, within 15 mins of my plane touching down, Sean had caught the first bird – followed by the 2nd, in the form of 2 Oystercatchers!!


We then travelled north, via the Calf of Man (which I really wanted to see!) where we managed to trap an adult Chough. My visit to the Isle of Man was to join Sean & Kev whilst they did the rounds ringing Chough pulli, I was not however, expecting to ring an adult Chough!! What a bird….


Above all my wows & ooooos of the birds was a serious side to the work. IOM ringers have been involved in a colour ringing programme of Chough since 1989…. More on this later.

After quickly calling into Sean’s home at Port Lewaigue for a cuppa, meeting his lovely wife Niki and seeing his ringing set up in the garden, we set off for the Point of Ayre. Here we caught – Lesser Black Backed Gull (cr-ringed), Common Gull and another Oystercatcher.


‘Common Gull with Point of Ayre Lighthouse in the background’

Later we trapped three Ringed Plover, adding to the day’s totals before calling for a chippy tea and heading back to Gray’s Bird Observatory for more ringing!!

All the left overs from tea were placed on the ground in front of the whoosh net and with in minutes we had the first birds down & Sean fired on 5 Herring Gulls, which later turned into 9 as we ended the day (all birds colour ringed).


'Luxury ringing – sitting with a cuppa on the couch whilst pulling the cord to whoosh gulls!’

So a fantastic day with no ringing planned, turned into a day of quality rather than quantity! Spending the day with a great mate, with some class species trapped & ringed!!

Thursday I finally got to meet Kev Scott, which was really nice to meet him after reading his blog & being in contact with him over e-mail. Good to put a name to a face and meet the other have of the Manx Ringing Duo!!


The day was spent checking Chough nests to ring the chicks & update the nest record cards. A cracking day had, working with Kev and Sean with such a charismatic species!

P1010077 P1010091

The day ended on 14 pulli being ringed, a further 15 ringed this morning before I flew back to Manchester and I’ve since heard that Kev & Sean carried on and ringed another 12 chicks!!

The Isle of Man ringing group are heavily involved in a number of colour marking projects on a number of species. Sightings of these birds are greatly welcomed and can be sent to the contact details on this link were also you’ll be able to find more information on their fantastic colour ringing work.


Colour ringed - Lesser Black Backed Gull

A huge thanks to Sean, Niki & Kev for having me along, giving up their time, showing me their beautiful island and allowing me to ring all the birds! You treated me too well…….I’ll be back!! ;-)

Cheers lads!

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