Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Eilean Nan Ron

I have just returned from ringing with four friends after spending 3 nights camping on the uninhabited island of Eilean Nan Ron. The last people to live on the island were evacuated in December 1938 because life for the inhabitants of the Gaelic speaking community on the one mile long island had become just to difficult.  All that is left now are the stone built houses and cottages that have fallen into decay and ruin. Nan Ron is just to the east of the mouth of Tongue bay on the very north coast of Scotland.  We stayed the first night in a Tongue hotel before getting on the small boat to take us over to the island the next morning. Nan Ron is famous for its population of Storm Petrels which were of course our primary target. Great Skua pulli was another possibility as well.



The timing plan for our visit coincided with no moon, so night time mist netting for Stormies would be at its darkest. Also at this time of year the nights are very short and there is only a short window of darkness to catch them. We had 3hrs and the sun was starting to rise again.

We had three nights ringing and by far the first night produced the most birds with a total of 337. Out of these I was lucky enough to process 169 of these 95 new birds and 74 retraps.



The total for nights two and three were about 200 birds so I was extracting from the nets whilst other people were ringing. All good experience.



During the day we looked for Bonxie pulli, there were none anywhere to be seen after walking miles around the island after them. All we did find was the one Bonxie nest which is a scrap or hollow in the ground lined with plant material. If the nest is in heather they will bring grass into the nest to line it from elsewhere.
I did find a Greater Black Backed Gull pulli whilst setting up for night two Stormies but Dave only took the A2 rings with us. I went back the next morning but could not find it again.




During the days we ringed 2 Shag adults, 2 Shag pulli and caught 2 Fulmar retraps. Finally the above Starling from one of the derelict building which was a 4M.

Total confirmed birds for our visit were:

New birds Rock Pipit 1, Shag 4, Starling 1, Stormie 323

Retraps Fulmar 2, Stormie 135

Controls Stormie 22

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