Thursday, 16 June 2011


Sorry to double up on topics folks but I had to add my personal experience of the Guillemot jumplings. I had never witnessed this astounding wildlife spectacle before and it absolutely lived up to expectations.

Last Tuesday evening (14th) I spent an emotional two hours watching many gorgeous, cute and fluffy chicks fling themselves off the top of Foul Carr (one of the large stacks in Foul Bay, near the Lighthouse). First of all they had to fight their way through many hundreds and thousands of grumpy and snappy adult birds to get to the edge of the colony. Then they had to take quite a leap of faith, and literally hurl themselves off the edge of the stack from a height of anywhere between 100 and 300 odd feet! The ones who were lucky enough to survive that fall then had to negotiate between the greedy gulls, who were patrolling the bottom of the stacks in a very menacing fashion.

I witnessed all manner of journeys. Some chicks were beautifully accompanied by their father, who would stay on the lower side of the chick as they made their way to the edge, so that when the chick lost its balance, the father was able to shield it from falling over the edge before it was ready. When the chick finally found the edge and looked ready to jump, the father would fly down to the sea and call to the chick to encourage it. Some chicks completed amazing swan dives to make a text book landing in the water. Other chicks weren't quite so graceful and tumbled head over heels the entire way over the face of the stack, to land in the water dazed and confused.

What a terrifying rite of passage these very young birds have to go through.
Although watching this spectacle is fairly traumatic (not as traumatic as for the birds!), it is really breathtaking and worth making the effort for. Hopefully there will be lots more action over the next few evenings.

No comments:

Post a Comment