Mayes, a birders' paradise

Some people say you're not birder until you've been to Mayes, an island of the Gulf of Morbihan! Well, that's it, now I am part of the club, I've just spent a few days there. I have been delighted by this first field session in the islands. Landscapes are beautiful in Mayes. The hut is also very nice and full of character. Those past few days, we had a few things to do. We started by ringing skuas' chicks. It was impressive to see the adults fake to attack us, stopping right above our heads, as intimidation... We also did part of the « Mayes tour » to find black-faced sheathbills' nests. We had to find the nests of those pigeon-sized, white birds, among the rocks next to the shore, and ringed the individuals which didn't have a ring already. We saw a few eggs, and a few chicks as well. That was the first time I could see them. We also searched a few white-faced petrels' dens to do the demographic monitoring. A lot of dens have been arranged so we can access the chamber where they lay eggs and brood without damaging it. This makes catching the adults and chicks to ring them easier. We also did a few sessions to catch birds with nets at night. The main goal was to catch blue petrels and slender-billed prions to take samples. It was the occasion for me to manipulate new species: blue petrels, slender-billed prions, common diving petrels, white-headed petrels, grey-backed storm petrels, a white-chinned petrel, and Antarctic prions. It's very different from working with penguins, and I was happy to learn more about petrels and prions! I'll also remember a very nice moment, without wind, watching the sun setting behind the Mounts Ross, with skuas and sooty albatrosses' cries as background music, a break to watch a light-mantled sooty albatros feed its chick (we got lucky to arrive just at the right time!), and watching the rockhopper penguins, nesting in rocks near the shore, and which chicks are sometimes gathered in creches... So, as usual, life's treating me pretty good and everything's going allright!


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Small skua chick in Mayes


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White-headed petrel chick


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Rockhopper penguin and chicks in
creche


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Black-faced sheathbill's nest with a chick and an egg

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Light-mantled sooty albatros feeding its chick

Kerguelen Mayes seabirds penguins albatros sheathbill birder

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