Latest News from Ramsey Island 31st May 2016

Strange behaviour – As you pass by the cliffs the past week or so you may have see our heads in burrows and bums in the air.  We are conducting a full island Manx shearwater census this year and over the next three weeks will be playing the ‘song’ of calling male and female Manx shearwaters to 20% of all the burrows on the island! If a male is inside the burrow sitting on its egg it should call back to the recording as it defends its burrow from the perceived interloper. If a female is at home she is less likely to respond but some do also call back. So if we ignore you as you pass by it’s nothing personal, it’s just we need to listen hard and concentrate as some birds are well underground and their calls are faint. We’ll let you know when we have a new population estimate (3,865 pairs in 2012)

Aquatic Shrews – A recent study shows that Harbour Porpoise forage almost continually day and night. They attempt to catch up to 550 small fish (3-10cm) every hour and have a high success rate! As a result of their small body size and cold water habitat they are compelled to stay busy and have a metabolic rate  2- 3 times higher than terrestrial mammals of the same size. This is why they are sometimes referred to as ‘aquatic shrews‘.

Lamb Rescue – We finished four weeks lambing with a total of 128 Welsh mountain lambs born (40 sets of twins and 48 singles). Remarkably we have only had to rescue two strays so far. One was hauled to safety from the cliff-top using a handmade noose consisting of 8 meters of gas pipe, a rope, three people and the quad bike and the other was rescued by boat with Derek’s’ help. Thanks to Venture Jet and Falcon Boats for spotting that these animals were well and truly stuck. Both very lucky lambs are now back with their mums.

That’s all for now. Until next Friday….

Lisa, Greg and Dewi