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Island life on Ramsey

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 09:24 UK time, Monday, 19 July 2010

The latest instalment from Ramsey Island comes from the Assistant Warden RSPB, Lisa Morgan:

"Chough had another good breeding season on the island, with 17 youngsters fledging from seven nest sites. This is a respectable success rate, after a tough winter for the adults and a dry spring, the hard earth making foraging for invertebrates more difficult."

"Family parties of chough are still in evidence, the incessant begging of the juveniles, makes them easy to locate. Although the young are on the wing, they are not yet independent, reliant on their industrious parents for a ready supply of insects and for foraging lessons."

Juvenille chough with parents. Image by Lisa Morgan

"Our kestrels are also working overtime, currently feeding a packed nest of four youngsters. They have chosen a very open nest site on the face of a rocky slope, but luckily the weather has been kind and we have been afforded fantastic views from our coast path."

"The adults are tirelessly bringing in a plentiful supply of bank voles for the hungry family. The estimated breeding population of kestrel in Pembrokeshire is surprisingly low at around 30 pairs, having experienced significant declines over the last 20 years. If all four young fledge that will be a great result."

"There have been many signs of otter activity over the last week. Fresh spraints have been found on the footpaths around the south coast of the island."

"The otters appear to be coming up the cliffs at two sites - one is a vegetated valley on Ramsey's east coast called Hen-ffordd (the old road)."

"Early farmers bringing livestock from the mainland to the island would, once have used this steep slope to get their animals ashore. It appears that otters are now using it as an access point too."

"Fresh markings have also been found on rocks and tussocks of moor grass in the wet valleys and along the footpath system."

"Local boatmen have also reported sighting these animals on two separate occasions this year, swimming through the ferocious tide races of Ramsey Sound and coming in off the inter-tidal rocks on the western cliffs."

"We will continue to monitor for signs and hope to have the spraints analysed later in the year to find out more about the diet of these animals. In the meantime, our freezer is rapidly filling with bags of rather pungent otter faeces!"

"From a human perspective, June has been a fantastic month and one of our busiest ever. Over 1,000 day visitors made the voyage across Ramsey Sound for a stroll around the island."

"We ran many guided walks and boat trips and helped people to get close up views of seabirds, kestrels and peregrines. If you made the trip, it was good to see you and thanks for making our days so enjoyable."

"If you haven't been to Ramsey yet, there is no excuse. The island is open everyday until the end of October."

"With the heathland coming into flower and the grey seals returning as we move ever closer to the pupping season, I can highly recommend a visit. I am, of course, biased but a thousand people can't be wrong."


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