Wednesday, 18 July 2012

BBQ & Petrels

On Saturday night the CCG and the Ringing Group held an open night at Whitburn Coastal Park. It began at 7pm with a BBQ at Souter Lighthouse. It was very well attended with well over 30 people enjoying the free food put on by the Groups. John was alpha male and took charge of the grill and I was more than happy to let him! According to weather reports it was meant to be a cloudy evening with possible showers, but as we ate our food in the open the weather was lovely. As everyone was enjoying the evening, at around 9.30pm myself, John and Andy nipped away to put the nets out in preparation for the second part of the event, the Storm Petrel Ringing. We were feeling really hopeful as on thursday myself and John had a practice run and there were loads of Stormies then. Unfortunately the wind was really strong that night so most of them bounced out of the nets before we could get a hold of them. So as long as the weather stayed fine we had a great chance tonight. Shortly after 10.00pm the people started to make their way over from the BBQ, and we all settled in to wait for the dark to come. While we patiently waited for the birds to arrive we were entertained by a number of Common Pipistrelle Bats buzzing around searching for Moths. There were also a few Common Toads scattered around, which the kids loved playing with! Then at around 11.30pm, John returned from checking the nets and he was carrying a little white bag. We had one! It was handed to Andy to do the sciencey stuff before it was shown to the excited crowd. I never ever grow tired of seeing peoples reactions to seeing these amazing little birds, especially when they realise that such a small, fragile looking thing spends most of its life out at sea. But they are obviously a lot tougher than they look! Once everybody had had a good look at the bird we took it to one side and released it unharmed. A job well done. We then settled down to wait for the next bird to come when, surprise surprise, the heavens opened. It started chucking it down and forced everyone to scarper for their cars. After a little wait the rain hadnt eased so most of the people went off home. Myself and the other Ringing lads hung around a bit longer but called it a night ourselves at 1.00am. Despite just getting the one bird it was a really successful night. The BBQ was a big success and everybody got to see a Petrel. Mission complete!


  1. Was a great night mate. You's been out again yet?

  2. Not for Stormies, we've not had the chance. Did get plenty on the Scillies though!!!