Storm petrels breeding on Ramsey island, Wales

This is a video about giant petrels and storm petrels in the Antarctic.

From the RSPB in Britain:

UK’s smallest breeding seabird weathers the storm

Last modified: 15 September 2008

Seabird monitoring on RSPB Ramsey Island this summer has revealed that storm petrels, the UK’s smallest breeding seabird, are showing signs of breeding on the island for the first time on record.

Greg Morgan, RSPB Ramsey Island warden, discovered five sites with resident storm petrels on the west coast of the island during monitoring sessions in July.

Greg said: ‘Storm petrels nest underground in burrows and inside rock crevices so we use a recently developed method of checking whether a potential nest site is occupied. We play a tape-recording of the male bird’s call at the entrance to likely habitat and listen for a response.

‘Repeat visits are needed to capture all the responses for an area as not all birds respond all the time. This is quite time consuming so a full survey will be carried out in 2009. However, given that we had responses from five sites on several different visits this year during the breeding season, we are confident that the birds were breeding here.’

The discovery of the nest sites is extremely encouraging and is testament to the success of the rat eradication project, carried out on the island in 1999. Manx shearwaters [see also here], another ground nesting seabird, have also increased in numbers over recent years.

Greg continued:
‘Rats found their way onto the island around 200 years ago, probably from shipwrecks. Nine years ago we made a concerted effort to eradicate the rat population to make the island a more suitable nesting site for certain bird species. The arrival of storm petrels here is a sign that our conservation efforts are working and we hope to see their numbers increase here over the years to come.’

Storm petrels have a later breeding season than many other seabirds, so if the birds have produced young this year, they could be expected to fledge during the next month. The birds will then leave the island to spend winter off the coast of South Africa but it is hoped that they will return again in May for another breeding season.

Other breeding seabirds monitored on Ramsey Island this year had a productive season, including kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots.

Though the cliff-nesting seabirds have left the breeding colonies to spend winter at sea, September and October are great months to visit Ramsey Island and see hundreds of Atlantic grey seal [see also here] pups on its beaches. To find out more about how to get there, visit or to book your trip, contact Thousand Island Expeditions (01437) 721 721.

Puffins of Skomer island: here.

Guillemots on Skomer Island are at the forefront of a project to use computers to monitor vulnerable habitats: here.

3 thoughts on “Storm petrels breeding on Ramsey island, Wales

  1. A New Species of Seabird

    A new species of storm-petrel found in Chile

    Monday 21 February 2011

    A new species of seabird has been found. The discovery follows recent sightings of unidentified storm-petrels in Seno Reloncavi, immediately south of Puerto Montt, Chile and the subject of a recent note in Dutch Birding (O’Keefe et al 2010). Following permissions from Servicio Agricola Y Ganaderro (SAG, permit number 0049), a five-person team of biologists, led by British seabird expert Peter Harrison, have just completed a ten-day expedition to the area. The expedition followed Harrison’s earlier examination of two skins of Oceanites spp. These specimens are housed in the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Buenos Aires, Argentina and had been described by Pearman as the first Argentinean records of Elliot’s Storm Petrel, Oceanites gracilis galapogoensis (Pearman 2000). Harrison, on examining the specimens, however, concluded that the two Oceanites specimens originally collected at El Bolson, Rio Negro province in Argentina in February 1972 and November 1983 represented a hitherto undescribed taxon of Oceanites and were probably the mysterious unidentified storm-petrels of Puerto Montt, which is just 70 km west of El Bolson.
    Important to the success of the expedition was the involvement of Chilean ornithologist Dr. Michel Sallaberry Ayerza of Departamento de Ciencias Ecologicas, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universitad de Chile. Harrison also enlisted the knowledge and expertise of Chris Gaskin and Karen Baird of New Zealand, both involved in at-sea captures and searches for the breeding location of the recently rediscovered New Zealand Storm-Petrel (Gaskin & Baird 2005, Stephenson et al, 2008, Gaskin unpublished Dept of Conservation report, Feb 2010). The expedition spent four days at sea in the Seno Reloncavi area where they made use of chum or berley (fish scraps) to attract resident seabirds within range of the specially designed net guns. The net guns were critical to the success of the expedition and were developed in New Zealand for the capture of the New Zealand Storm Petrel.
    Over the four day at-sea period of the expedition over 1500 sightings of the new Oceanites species were recorded. To assist with the scientific description of the new species twelve birds were captured for collection of biometric data and samples of blood and feathers for genetic work.
    The new Oceanites species would appear to be most closely related to Elliot’s storm petrel, Oceanites gracilis but in appearance is intermediate between Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Oceanites oceanicus and New Zealand Storm-Petrel, Pealeornis maoriana and shows a distinctive pale upper wing-crescent and a prominent white bar across the underwing coverts. Unlike typical Elliot’s Storm-Petrel the white feathering in the ventral area is much more subdued and restricted and does not extend towards the upper breast. The wing measurements are also very different and show no overlap with mainland Elliot’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites gracilis gracilis.
    The five-person expedition team estimate a population of 5,000-10,000 birds in the Seno Reloncavi area where the new taxon appears to be the most abundant of the resident seabirds with flocks at chum slicks of several hundred individuals. The timing of the expedition also appears to have coincided with the fledging period as juveniles have been among the captured birds suggesting breeding occurs in Seno Reloncavi area, possibly beginning in November. A wider search of the Seno Reloncavi and Golfo de Ancud area needs to be undertaken in both summer and winter. Further analysis on feather and blood samples is expected to confirm this discovery and a full scientific publication is in preparation by the expedition team.
    A paper is currently in preparation with full biometric, behavioural and morphological data naming the new species as the Puerto Montt Storm-Petrel Oceanites australis.

    Gaskin, C.; Baird, K. 2005. Observations of black and white storm petrels in the Hauraki Gulf, November 2003 to June 2005. Were they of New Zealand Storm-petrels? Notornis 52: 181-194.
    O’Keeffe M.; Dowdall J.; Enright S.; Fahy K.; Gilligan J.; Lillie G. 2010. Unidentified Storm-Petrels, Puerto Montt, Chile, February, 2009. Dutch Birding
    Pearman, M. 2000. First records of Elliot´s Storm Petrel Oceanites gracilipes in Argentina. El Hornero 15(2).
    Stephenson, B.M.; Gaskin, C.P.; Griffiths, R.; Jamieson, H.; Baird, K.A.; Palma, R.L.; Imber, M.J. 2008. The New Zealand storm-petrel (Pealeornis maoriana Mathews, 1932): first live capture and species assessment of an enigmatic seabird. Notornis 56: 191-205


  2. Pingback: Walt Disney corporation Star Wars damage to Irish storm petrels | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Good seabird news from Malta | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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