Calf Recovery Project Update

Written by James Walker, Media and Communications volunteer  

calf of manAs a site of international importance for Seabird populations, the Calf of Man really is a jewel in the island’s crown for wildlife. A threat to successful breeding for all bird species on the island is the invasive Long-tail, a familiar tale on islands around the world. In order to combat this threat, staff on the Calf of Man implement several ingenious techniques to detect the presence of rats and administer control humanely.

Monitoring is done by leaving out blocks of wax at bait points across the island.Unfortunately, work couldn’t begin as soon as was originally hoped in 2014, due to the horrendous weather conditions of the winter, and a team eventually landed on the Calf in March. New to the team, Estate Warden Nick Purdew took the lead on the project, utilising the help of volunteers. The only evidence of Long-tails in the early part of 2014 was two unconfirmed sightings. A boost was given to the project with the arrival of an independent expert on the eradication of invasive animal species from islands. The practical advice gained from the visit will be crucial in the future success of the project.

Richard Jamieson - checking Fenn trapsThirty nine boxes containing spring traps were placed at hot spots across the island in 2014, in order to eliminate any Long-tail which entered them. In October, a Long-tail was recorded by a camera trap in a small bird hide near Cow Harbour. Using fifty plastic box snap traps on loan from DEFA, the warden set out a grid system, placing and baiting each trap a metre apart. After a week, the Long-tail failed to be recorded on the camera trap and there were no further signs by mid-November, when the warden team vacated the island.

Continuous monitoring will be needed in progressing with the project; however the results are beginning to show. Manx Shearwaters recorded an increase of 76 occupied burrows over the figure of 2013, further surveys will see if this part of a notable long term trend. The ultimate aim of the project is to eradicate Rats from the calf but there has to be an evidence free period of two years for the Calf to be officially declared Rat-free. The project partners met last Friday and are keen to keep up with the hard work for the additional two years.

Volunteers are needed to help with the project in 2015 and continue to make the Calf a special place for wildlife, if you are interested then please contact either Kate Hawkins (kate.hawkins@gov.im) or Duncan Bridges (Duncan@manxwt.org, 01624 844432).

Download our detail information pack for the volunteers here: Calf Volunteers 2015

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MANX BIRD REPORT FOR THE WEEK ENDING ON 25TH JANUARY 2015

Here are the full details of the sightings during the week ended 25th January 2015.

The total number of species reported in this week was 31. The full list of 2015 species will be created shortly.

During March 2015 we will be transitioning to a new way of reporting sightings. We will tell you all about it once the new sightings website is set up. Until then, please continue to send in your observations and photographs using the usual form.

 

Date Species Number Location / Details Observer
17-Jan Whooper Swan 42 Windmill Road/Ballacrye Road John, Lorraine & Craig Donnelly
18-Jan Hen Harrier 1 Blue Point Fred Hodgson
18-Jan Great Black-Backed Gull 5 Blue Point Fred Hodgson
18-Jan Curlew 17 Blue Point Fred Hodgson
18-Jan Oystercatcher 11 Blue Point Fred Hodgson
19-Jan Kestrel 1 Bride Area Fred Hodgson
19-Jan Sparrowhawk 1 Bride Area Fred Hodgson
19-Jan Peregrine 1 Bride Area Fred Hodgson
19-Jan Red-Breasted Merganser 1 Langness Rick Taylor
19-Jan Snipe 8 Langness Rick Taylor
19-Jan Merlin 1 Langness Rick Taylor
19-Jan Wigeon 10+ Castletown Harbour Beryl Quayle
19-Jan Brent Goose 42 Langness Richard Norris
19-Jan Twite 3 Langness Richard Norris
19-Jan Red-Breasted Merganser 1 Langness Richard Norris
19-Jan Linnet 12 Langness Richard Norris
19-Jan Grey Plover 2 Fort Island Richard Norris
19-Jan Black Guillemot 2 Derbyhaven Richard Norris
20-Jan Wigeon 3 Clypse Reservoir, Onchan Jerry Jones
20-Jan Cormorant 27 Kerrowdhoo Reservoir, Onchan Jerry Jones
20-Jan Hen Harrier 1 Derbyhaven Paul Bromley
21-Jan Redpoll 2 Glen Vine Pauline & Michael Howland
22-Jan Wigeon 34 Clypse Reservoir Pete Christain
23-Jan Sparrowhawk 1 Glen Vine Pauline & Michael Howland
24-Jan Golden Plover 80+ Point of Ayre Fred Hodgson
24-Jan Great Black-Backed Gull 4 Point of Ayre Fred Hodgson
24-Jan Black-Headed Gull 8 Point of Ayre Fred Hodgson
24-Jan Goldcrest 2 Ballakesh Plantation Fred Hodgson
24-Jan Goldeneye 30+ Off Grand Island Fred Hodgson
24-Jan Redshank 1 Ramsey Harbour Graham Smith
24-Jan Mute Swan 18 Ramsey Harbour Graham Smith
24-Jan Oystercatcher 9 Mooragh Promenade Graham Smith
24-Jan Oystercatcher 81 Mooragh lake Graham Smith
24-Jan Redshank 3 Mooragh lake Graham Smith
24-Jan Grey Wagtail 1 Bride Graham Smith
24-Jan Pied Wagtail 1 Bride Graham Smith
24-Jan Eider 1 Point of Ayre Graham Smith
24-Jan Kestrel 1 Point of Ayre Graham Smith
24-Jan Cormorant 3+ Point of Ayre Graham Smith
24-Jan Little Egret 1 Poyll Vaaish Richard Norris
24-Jan Starling 90+ Poyll Vaaish Richard Norris
24-Jan Wigeon 80+ Poyll Vaaish Richard Norris
24-Jan Teal 30 Poyll Vaaish Richard Norris
25-Jan Hen Harrier 1 Cronk Ny Mona Marie Halliday
25-Jan Brent Goose 40+ Langness Pete Christain
25-Jan Little Egret 2 Langness Pete Christain
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Annual report 2013/14 available for download

Written by Ana Duarte
Annua report cover

We’re happy to announce that the financial report of Manx BirdLife for the year 2013/2014 was successfully approved last November. During 2013/14, our organisation led numerous activities for the purpose of conservation of Manx bird species. You can read the full report Annual Report_2013_14.

One of the most important conservation activities in which we were involved, in partnership with other organisations, was the eradication of long-tails (brown rat) from the Calf of Man. The eradication of long-tails is expected to benefit bird species such as the Manx shearwater, whose numbers will continue to be monitored by Manx National Heritage. For recent update on the project, please read here.

 

Monitoring and management of areas

Monitoring activities in 2013/14 included the post-construction monitoring of the Runway End Safety Area and the continuation of the re-survey of the Manx Bird Atlas. The latter project involved surveying 10% of the Island’s area over multiple years. This will allow us to estimate changes in bird populations over the last decades.

MBL has also been centrally involved in the restoration of the gravel pits at the Ayres and adjoining heathland. During 2013/14 we liaised with Northstone, the new owners of CEMEX, to review the areas and terms of the lease. During the last year, a monthly transect was carried out at the Point of Ayre Gravel Pits and this data will be incorporated into the management plan for the area.

 

Policy and communication

Throughout 2013/14 we continuously provided input to the production of the Island’s Biodiversity Strategy, both through participation in meetings of the Manx Nature Conservation Forum to develop the strategy and response to the final consultation on the Biodiversity Strategy. MBL also provided input to the Manx Uplands Strategy.

 

Finally, one of MBL’s goals is to interest people in Nature conservation. To that end we made a DVD about Isle of Man’s wildlife. A private showing was held for funders and contributors to MBL, and we are looking into ways to distribute this film. We also carried out our yearly Garden Birdwatch Scheme with a total of 53 participants, 65 garden species being reported and 107 thousand records reported during 2013. We look forward to organise it again this year as well as to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Scheme.

 

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