Click and Play 16june2013

Read by Yvonne

Last week Aurelie wrote your Daily Digests so that she could tell you all about Gull ringing, her time on Burhou doing the ringing and what type of things she gets up to on Alderney. Whilst she was telling you all about the exciting adventures she was having, I was having an adventure of my own - climbing Les Etacs to catch and tag Gannets!!

I have told you all about tagging before whilst working with the Shags, but doing the same work on the Gannets is an entirely different experience, and today I will tell you all about it!

The first part of the adventure is actually getting on to Les Etacs. This meant Roland, the Alderney Wildlife Trust Manager, had to row myself, Vicky and Phil Atkinson (a professional bird ringer from the British Trust for Ornithology - BTO) onto the island one-by-one.

Roland rowing Vicky on to Les Etacs

Roland rowing Vicky on to Les Etacs

Once all three of us were on Les Etacs we had to climb up to where all the Gannets were. Rolands view of us from the water shows just how high we had to climb!

Vicky, Tim and Phil on Les Etacs

Vicky, Tim and Phil on Les Etacs

Working on Les Etacs

We had a target of 27 Gannets to catch as that is how many satellite tags we had, and in five and a half hours we managed to catch our entire quota and send out all 27 tags!

Vicky attaching the tag whilst Phil holds the Gannet

Vicky attaching the tag whilst Phil holds the Gannet

Unlike the Shags (and Gulls which you will learn about on Wednesday) which have the tags taped to their back, the Gannets have the tag attached to their tail feathers. This is because they are much bigger birds and dive into the water to catch fish very quickly, so attaching the tag to the tail rather than the back means it is more likely to stay on for 10 days. After 10 days we will be climbing Les Etacs again to re-catch the birds and take the tags off ourselves to collect the data.

The tag is taped between tail feathers to keep it in place

The tag is taped between tail feathers to keep it in place

Despite the fact that we were catching the Gannets to tag them, most of the birds stayed on their nest whilst we were working. This meant that we were always surrounded by these impressive birds.

Vicky tagging a Gannet whilst the rest of the colony watches

Vicky tagging a Gannet whilst the rest of the colony watches

You can see us wearing hard hats and goggles in the pictures for protection. Being so close to these birds can be dangerous, all three of us got hit across the side of the head at some stage during the day by Gannets taking off to fly! This certainly hurts, but without the hard hats it would have been much more painful!

But, despite the dangers, the day went perfectly, and we got the most amazing views of the colony going about their daily lives. Come back for tomorrow's Daily Digest to see more of the Gannets and their life on Les Etacs!

Weather Forecast:

weather-symbolMonday 17th June

Max 14 degrees / Min 13 degrees

Wind direction: East North Easterly 20mph

Description: Heavy Rain

Today's Puffin Fact

Adult Puffins take turns in flying out to sea to catch fish for the Puffling.