donderdag 21 juni 2012

Magical Manxies

As I said in my blog post from last Saturday we were supposed to go petrel ringing that day, but because of the bad weather (rain and strong wind) that was canceled. Instead - if weather permitted - we would go Tuesday evening. After getting all of our stuff together we - Menzie, Tammo and I - drove to Kieran Foster's place, whom we would be joining for the ringing. The subsequent two hour drive took us to Point Lynas, up in Anglesey, North Wales. We enjoyed a wonderful sunset on the calm sea, together with some Manx Shearwaters shearing off shore; a good sign!
 A bright sunset at Point Lynas
Tammo, Menzie and Kieran pictured in the photo (and yes, Menzie is always ruining the photo..haha)

We set up two 18 m nets, one for the Storm Petrels and one for the Manx Shearwaters. We got the nets up at 22:30 and then we had to wait till it would be completely dark to put the tapes on.

Kieran and I at one of the nets.

It took some time before we heard the first Manxie calling off shore. It took until 1:00 am that the Manxies came closer to the nets. They flew over the nets, but weren't eager enough to go in. Then, as we changed the sound of Storm Petrel into Manx Shearwater (that set of speakers was louder) we lured them all in and as I saw the first Manxie get in and get out of the net, the others had already caught four in the other net, awesome!! We kept it this way for the rest of the time, resulting in 14!!! Manx Shearwaters, a record, since the highest Kieran had ringed here before, was 7. It was an amazing experience, Manx Shearwaters just calling everywhere: off shore, on the land, above your head etc. You could see and hear (their wings) come over from close by.

 Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus); one close-up
Wing photo from one of the Manx Shearwaters.
 Menzie and Tammo, carrying 7 kilo worth of shearwater!
 Happy ringers!
 Tammo and Kieran
 Gnome Tammo holding a Manxie!

By the time we were finished with all the ringing it was 3:00 am. We didn't catch any Storm Petrel, Kieran did see one bouncing against the net, but it didn't get caught, probably because of the wind. 

Full of satisfaction we packed our stuff and started the journey home. We all felt sorry for Menzie as he had to drive haha.. We got home safe around 6:00 am  and slept for another five hours. After that we dropped my dad off at the Liverpool airport, as he had to go home again. 

Special thanks to Kieran for the great night (and Menzie for the driving!)

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