Over the past week or so the kittiwakes have been busy nest building. It's an absolutely amazing sight with thousands of birds flying all around your head collecting mud and grass from the cliff tops and ponds on the headland. The noise is phenomenal! Spotted quite a few eggs this week, and so hope to get the monitoring started next week.
The guillemot and razorbill monitoring is in full swing. I have been out watching the birds looking for eggs whilst battling the wind and on Friday I saw my first razorbill chick! It's a really fantastic feeling seeing the first chick, they are so tiny and vunerable, from then on I have seen more razorbill chicks my first guillemot chicks, it really lifts your spirits and momentarily you forget about the wind and the cold!
The next few weeks are busy with everything happening at once. Hope to update you again soon.
Hi, my name is Chris Smyth. I live in a land-locked county about 100 miles from the nearest coastline so you might wonder why I am concerned about better protection for marine wildlife and the coastal environment? My answer is that we all rely on the health of our seas, whether directly for our livelihoods or because of the wider environmental role that our sea plays. Having a healthy marine environment that is abundant, encourages biodiversity and sustains vast ecosystems is in everybody’s interests.
I went along to Westminster yesterday to lobby my MP to strengthen the Marine Bill that is currently going through Parliament.
The main objective of the day was to inform our MPs that the wording of the Marine Bill doesn’t currently offer effective protection for marine wildlife and the coastal environment, and to encourage them to support amendments to the bill when it is discussed in the House of Commons. The day began at Methodist Central Hall, which is just off Parliament Square. People came from all over the country to represent their various constituencies. As we arrived we were given briefing papers outlining the weaknesses within the Marine Bill as it stands and the recommendations we should make to our respective MPs to make the bill stronger. Before departing for the Houses of Parliament we heard some inspirational speeches and rallied outside the hall in preparation for the walk through the busy Westminster streets.
It was the first time I had ever lobbied and as we walked, carrying placards, I was really unsure of what to expect and quite nervous that I might not know enough to debate with my MP. When we arrived at the central lobby in the Palace of Westminster we filled in a green card to request to see our MPs. After a brief wait, my MP’s name was called and it was time to make my case.
I was a bit disappointed to hear that my MP was unable to see me in person, as he was in a meeting, but I had a very friendly and easy discussion with the MP’s assistant.
Despite my fears, I actually found the experience very collaborative and not nearly as scary as I thought it might be. The MP’s assistant said that the MP wasn’t aware of our concerns and that it was very useful for us to highlight them. She wrote down the key points and promised that my MP would write to me with a response. I left Westminster feeling that it had been a useful and very positive experience.
If you want to get involved in the future then see the 'How you can help' section at the top of the Safeguard our sea life page.
They're noisy, smelly and bustling with activity 24/7.
Seabird cities are among the most evocative wildlife spectacles in the UK. Whether walking among clifftop colonies on the Farnes, ducking divebombing skuas on the Shetlands, or gawping at gannets on Bempton Cliffs - these are experiences you'll never forget.
Our coasts and seas not only support millions of seabirds, they're also home to playful dolphins, giant basking sharks, starfish, seahorses and seals.
You'd expect these remarkable treasures to enjoy protection at least equal to the best of our onshore wildlife. Far from it. In a deplorable demonstration of 'out of sight, out of mind', the UK has a paltry three marine nature reserves - Lundy, Skomer and Strangford Lough.
Thankfully we now have an unprecedented opportunity to correct this abysmal state of affairs.
And you can help us. Tomorrow we'll be at Westminster, lobbying MPs to ensure that the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill does the job it needs to.
You're very welcome to join us, we'd love to see you there. Come along and help us make a little bit of maritime history.
Or if you can't make it in person, you can write to your MP telling him or her why our marine wildlife matters to you.
Remember, all those puffins and porpoises can't speak up for themselves.
Great news, two pairs of gannets in our monitoring plots already have chicks! The gannet monitoring is well underway, most pairs have an egg and from now on more and more chicks will hatch each day.
Guillemots and razorbills have also started laying eggs and are being spotted by visitors and volunteers. Monitoring of these plots started this week and will continue through until the chicks fledge at the end of June/beginning of July.
Myself and a couple of volunteers attempted to count the whole puffin colony a week or so ago, but unfortunately once we had started there were no puffins to be seen! Luckily they hadn't disappeared completely, but had just flown out to sea which is normal before they start breeding. Since the attempted count there have been lots of puffins spotted from the viewpoints on the reserve.
Anyway back to work for me, very busy time setting up the monitoring plots and arranging volunteers to come and help on the project. Look forward to updating you all next week once more of the monitoring is underway.