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Nightly strolls for shearwaters

6 October 2012

One down, two to go.  There are three species of nocturnal seabirds at St Kilda that fledge late on in the season.  The Manx shearwaters have gone now and it will soon be time for the Leach's and European storm-petrel to head out to sea.  The young of all three species can become disorientated by the lights and sounds generated by the buildings on the base and they occassionally head inland.   For a good few weeks, Andy (the archaeologist) and I patrolled the base at midnight and in the morning to collect up any stray birds.  

This was one of the first shearwaters that I discovered and it had a funky mohawk of downy feathers on its head!Young Manx shearwater with a mohawk of downy feathers

 

The hook at the end of the bill is very sharp and this bird snagged me a few times when I was rescuing it from behind a wall.The hook on the end of that bill is sharp (Manx shearwater)

 

I found this bird at night so I quickly took some measurements and then released it under the cover of darkness.  I'll post some photos of storm-petrels soon...

Gina



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