Friday, 14 July 2017

When I shared the news of our first ever gannet chick folk at seabird colonies from Blackeney Point to Troup Head via the East Coast Seabird Network, I got the following interesting information from the folk at Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire.

The gannet colony there continues to expand. Where gannets and guillemots intereact, the gannets win battles for space for nest sites causing the loss of guillemot eggs and chicks. There have been one or two occasions where gannets have b...een seen to stand over or apparently brood guillemot chicks (as in the picture) but these chicks do not survive. However, news hot off the press, this year's counts show that the numbers of guillemots are also increasing. So it seems, if there are enough alternative nesting areas for the guillemots in the area, they move into them.

As you may know, numbers of kittiwakes at St Abb's Head have decreased by 85% over the last 25 years or so. Whilst this is a tragedy in itself, and although kittiwakes and guillemots do utilise different areas of cliff, it does mean that there may be some areas where kittiwakes used to nest that can be colonised by guillemots ousted by gannets. Only time will tell, however. We most certainly live in interesting times! Liza.

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