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Grassholm Fieldwork - Trip 3

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Our final trip of the season to the RSPB reserve of Grassholm Island, which hosts 36,000 pairs of northern gannets, ended up being a bit sooner than anticipated. The weather was due to deteriorate the following week, so we decided to get out while we could. After a bit of last minute logistical organisation we headed off to Grassholm on 2nd August.


The main aim was to recover the 19 GPS, 4 cameras and 7 AudioMoth tags that were deployed in the previous two trips. This was our last chance to recover these devices as they will fall off when the birds moult in winter. We also wanted to recover 8 GLS tags that were deployed in 2018. These small tags are attached to the metal BTO ring on the birds’ leg – so they aren’t lost during winter. Alongside this we resight Darvic ringed birds, collect feather samples (for stable isotope analysis) and collect diet samples that are regurgitated by gannets.


Despite a few rain showers, the weather was ideal for catching (cool, windy) and we managed to recapture all birds that had devices – which was fantastic! We recovered 18 GPS (1 had come off), all 4 cameras and all 7 AudioMoth tags. We also recovered 6 GLS tags which were deployed in previous years. Great work team!


We left Grassholm on 4th August and went to Ramsey Island where we were greeted by a very friendly border collie and had a celebratory (indoor) BBQ – as it was raining. We’ll be heading back out to Grassholm again next year, so check back here to see how it goes!




Thanks to RSPB wardens Greg and Lisa for allowing access to Grassholm, Tim Brooke for getting us there and back as well as this trip’s team (Steve Votier, Toby Phelps, Kelly Atkins and Hannah Meinertzhagen) for all their hard work.


By Hannah Meinertzhagen

(Photos: Kelly Atkins and Hannah Meinertzhagen)

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