July 3rd

Day 2: Off to Ortac, our other major Gannet colony. Same team in attendance but a slightly different remit as today we split into small groups with one team ringing  Gannet chicks, one colour-ringing adult Gannets and the last fitting GPS tracking systems to 12 individual adult Gannets. It was more tricky to land on Ortac than Les Etacs but, once we had all safely taken our leaps of faith from the rib onto the rock, it was far less steep and much easier to work on than Les Etacs.

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Ortac

The BTO’s GPS tracking system uses the mobile phone networks to transmit data so the birds do not need to be caught again. Over the past few years we have started to understand more about the foraging locations of Alderney’s Gannets and an additional 12 loggers were fitted this year. Little is know about the behaviour of Gannets beyond their nesting husbandry and these transponders, are as I write, are tracking the daily movements of these birds, thus increasing our understanding of their behaviour by the day !

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PhD student Harriet Clark fits one of the GPS tags to the central tail feathers of a Gannet held by the BTO’s Dr Phil Atkinson

Along with the exciting GPS program, another 230 Gannet chicks were ringed, and 50 adult Gannets were fitted with individually numbered colour rings so that adult survival can be monitored in the colony in future years.

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Channel Island ringers; Alderney’s Paul Veron and Jersey’s Cristina Sellares enjoy the sunshine after a successful days work on Ortac

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A majestic Gannet accompanies us as we depart Ortac. The 2016 Gannet monitoring is now complete

DAY 3 on tomorrow’s blog

 

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