Friday, 15 July 2016

Fulmar-ks for observation...

I had my first sighting of a fulmar chick today, which is exciting. Fulmars are the seabirds that spend the longest time on the cliffs - you can see them from February, when they are prospecting for nest sites, right the way through till Ocotber. However, they are the last of our seabirds to breed, laying eggs around the end of May, which hatch in mid July. As they do not build a nest, and spend quite a lot of time sitting about on ledges suitable for nesting, it is often ...difficult to tell whether they are breeding or not until later in the season when the chicks are large. I suspected that the bird in the first two pictures was breeding. It has been sitting tight on the same ledge since May, as the splatters of guano attest, so I have been checking it out regularly. Today I spotted the egg shell next to this adult bird, which was also holding its wing in a way that suggested it had something underneath it. So I sat and watched and waited. My patience was rewarded with a brief glimpse of a chick. 

So, now I had proof of the presence of chicks, I checked out some other apparently occupied fulmar sites, and the second chick I spotted was much easier - as it was sitting next to its parent rather being brooded under it. As you can see, even when young, they are just a mini, fluffy version of the adults, with the tube on the beak already.

Keep your eyes peeled! Liza

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