09 July 2011

Bahrain - Ringing at Al Jarrim Island (South)

I am just starting to learn, as a trainee, to ring birds in Bahrain with the help of trainer Brendan Kavanagh who is a very experienced 'A' Ringer. Brendan is licensed to ring under the British Trust for Ornithology scheme which operates in Britain and Ireland and has permission to use their rings in Bahrain. It will take me many months / years to move from a 'Trainee' under supervision to a 'C Ringer' where I will be able to ring on my own unsupervised.

Today I went over to Bahrain to go and help Brendan ring tern chicks. Nicole Proven and I set off early from Dhahran (04:00 hrs) and went to the Bahrain Yacht Club in Sitra. Here we caught Ali's 400 HP boat (05:30 hrs) to Al Jarrim Island where we spent most of the day rounding up and ringing Tern chicks. Paul Watts a 'C' Ringer and Robert Whitcombe an excellent helper, who were visiting Bahrain also joined the group.

We ringed 222 Bridled tern Chicks which we had to find by looking under small bushes where they were hiding. Ali was particularly good at finding and catching them from their bushes and helped me tremendously with the job. We estimated that about 450 - 500 pairs of Bridled tern were nesting on the island. We also ringed  753 Lesser Crested Tern Chicks. These were all in large creches and we just herded them onto the beach and down to our catching pen (designed by Howard King and made by Brendan) which we had erected in advance on the sand. From here we collected them and took them to the ringing station for processing. We estimated about 6000 pairs of Lesser Crested Tern were breeding on the island and about 5500 young were seen on a final scout around the island by boat. A single Indian (Western) Reef Heron was also ringed as it was found in a nest whilst looking for Bridled Tern Chicks.

The total number of birds ringed was 976 which are listed below:-

Lesser Crested Tern
Bridled Tern
West Reef Heron

As we were so busy with the ringing of tern chicks the photographic opportunities were very limited but I did take a few pictures included below.
Adult Bridled Tern

Adult Bridled Tern

Adult Lesser Crested Tern

Adult Lesser Crested Tern

Adult White-cheeked Tern

Ringing Camp

Paul Watts and Indian (Western) Reef Heron Chick

Indian (Western) Reef heron Chick