Skomer (Week 2) Day 8-10: Eggs and Colour Rings
|Drawing at the Amos, with a puffin onlooker.|
I returned to Skomer on the 16th and with calm weather took the opportunity to work at the more exposed South West facing Amos site. At the moment I am tackling a larger composition on a 3m scroll of the entire study plot that is the main focus of the monitoring programme run here by Tim Birkhead. The majority of the Amos's Guillemot pairs have laid during the time I have been away, so there will be lots of colourful eggs in this drawing when finished. The patterning of birds across the loomery is also turning out to be different, not just because the geology of the ledges they use are not like the steep scree of the Bull Hole site I focused on last week, but because their behaviour has changed with many birds taking on a sitting incubating posture.
Pairs take it in turns to incubate eggs in 12 hour shifts and there are change over periods at around 5-8am and 4-6pm. During these times, the loomery grows in density as birds return, from foraging perhaps and long greeting, allopreening displays and behaviour occur as guillemots commence in the process of persuading often reluctant partners to leave the egg they have been on for 12 or so hours so they can incubate it. Tension is often high at these periods as returning birds often need to reassert their dominance and claim over both nesting site and partner. Fights are common, often to deal with imposters - guillemot fidelity is not as clear cut as I previously thought.
|One of the main groups within the study plot|
|The main study groups are rich in ringed birds, recorded on the|
drawing with a letter and number e,g R (red) 210
At the half way point by the end of day 2