2012 Grassholm Island Systematic Bird Record

Gannet colony on Grassholm Island RSPB Nature Reserve

RSPB staff landed on Grassholm on 4 occasions in 2012 and all records are taken from these visits along with records from a round island trip on 22nd September.

Visits on 14th -15th July, 24th-26th July and 8th-9th August saw a continuation of the data logging work by Dr Steve Votier and his Plymouth University team, now in it’s 7th consecutive year gathering data on the foraging and migration strategies of northern gannets. Productivity work was also undertaken by RSPB staff during these trips.

A final trip was made on 13th October for the annual task to cut free gannets tangled in marine debris. Special thanks for help on this trip to Steve Votier, Kirsten Archibald, Nia Stephens and Tim Brooke. 62 young and 2 adults were cut free in 2012 (the second highest total in the past 8 years). Since 2005, a total of 426 birds have been cut free. Two members of the Royal Commission on the Aerial and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) accompanied us on the October trip and made some fascinating discoveries on previous seasonal settlements on the island.Thanks to Venture Jet for safe passage on all journeys

40 species were recorded in 2011 (31 in 2011) of which 12 were confirmed breeders

A random sample of 611 nests yielded a productivity estimate of 0.69 (0.72 in 2011)

Principle recorders were Greg Morgan, Lisa Morgan, Nia Stephens and Steve Votier, with additional records from Tim Brooke and skippers and crew from local boat operators.

Highlights were Quail (possibly the first record for Grassholm), Little Egret, Sanderling and Purple Sandpiper

UNDERLINED = breeding species

Quail 1 on 24th July flushed twice from tussocks. Possibly first record for Grassholm (NS and SV)

Manx shearwater Regular offshore, no evidence of breeding this year.

STORM PETREL Confirmed breeder. 3 nest sites located by day (these were 3 of the 5 located in 2011)

GANNET Confirmed breeder. No census (39,292 AOS at last census in 2009). Productivity (measured as nests containing large young in mid July) from 611 random nests was 0.69 (0.72 in 2011)

SHAG Confirmed breeder. Not censused

Little Egret 1 on 24th July flying past close to island (SV)

PEREGRINE Present on 5 dates but no evidence of breeding this year (1 pair bred in 2011)

OYSTERCATCHER Confirmed breeder. Not censused.

Sanderling 1 on 24th July (SV)

Purple sandpiper 3 on 13th October (SV)

Turnstone Present on most visits in 2012. Max 25 on 8th August and 16 on 22nd September

Dunlin 1 on 25th July

Common Sandpiper Singles on 14th July, 8th August and 9th August. 4 on 24th July

Redshank 2 on 14th July and singles on 26th July and 8th August

Greenshank 1 on 9th August

Curlew 1 on 8th August. 4 on 22nd September

Whimbrel 5 on 14th and 15th July, 3 on 26th July and 1 on 22nd Sept

HERRING GULL Confirmed breeder. Not censused (due 2013).

LESSER BLACK- Confirmed breeder. Not censused (due 2013).



BACKED GULL Confirmed breeder. Not censused (due 2013). 1500 roosting on low tide rocks on 13th October

KITTIWAKE Confirmed breeder. 23 AON (19 at last official count in 2007). 250 roosting on low tide rocks on 8th August.

Sandwich Tern 1 on 25th July offshore

GUILLEMOT Confirmed breeder. 1849 individuals (1094 in 2007)

RAZORBILL Confirmed breeder. 53 individuals (32 in 2007)

Puffin 20 close in to the South Gut on 14th July

Swallow 1 on 14th July, 5 on 24th July and 5 on 13th October

House Martin 1 on 15th July

Blackcap A female on 26th July and a male on 13th October

Sedge warbler Singles on 26th July and 8th August

Grasshopper warbler 1 on 25th July

Chiffchaff 1 on 14th and 2 on 26th July

Willow warbler 3 on 26th July and 20 on 8th August

Goldcrest 5 on 13th October

ROCK PIPIT Confirmed breeder. Not censused.

Dunnock 3 on 13th October

Northern Wheatear 2 on 8th August, singles on 9th August and 13th October

Wren 6 on 13th October

Carrion crow 2 on 14th July

RAVEN Confirmed breeder. 1 pair (1 pair in 2011). 2 young fledged.