Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Releasing Shearwaters

 I am told there has been some criticism of my releasing Shearwaters in the daytime rather than at dusk which Ken Photographed in a previous posting.

I have been involved in rescuing Shearwaters for nearly thirty years.

Most shearwaters that are found on land are young birds that have left their nest burrows at night and been attracted inland by bright lights such as the Ferry Port Lights at Fishguard or Strumble lighthouse. I dread to thing how many have been attracted tio the lights caused by flaring of gasses at the refineries. 

In the past we have (Sea Trust) released them way out to sea from the ferry, but with Covid restrictions that is not an option this year,

The main reason given to release them at dusk is to avoid gulls? 

Gulls are still active at dusk, in fact at Strumble they are  extremely active as they flock in to roost there on Ynys Meicle. Also soon after dusk the very lights that attracted them in, are shining brightly.

Therefore having got them ringed I release them as soon as possible from Strumble after scanning with my binoculars, to make sure there are no gulls nearby that might chase after the released Shearwater and kill it.

This year we have ringed and released five shearwaters from Strumble in the afternoon. The place I launch them from, (into the wind) is seventy feet above sea level and having launched them they quickly start flapping their wings and shoot off like little rockets, and are soon out of sight as they swoop down over the water and out to sea. 

They will no doubt land on the sea soon after release and have a drink and preen, They then have four or five hours to make their way out to sea beyond sight of land and away from the lights that may attract them back. They will hopefully join others of their kind and feed up out to sea before setting off on their journey to the southern ocean.and safety.