Annet 11-12th August 2008

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In 1951 Ludwig Koch visited Annet to make sound recordings of European Storm-petrels and Manx Shearwaters. This may have been the first time these species were sound recorded for science. Since then sound recording technology has developed considerably as has interest in studies of bird sounds. A pioneering team in this regard is The Sound Approach, masterminded by Mark Constantine and supported by a talented team.

Annet, home to some 1400 pairs of British Storm-petrel  Ashley Fisher

Magnus Robb of The Sound Approach retraced the steps of Ludwig Koch some 50 years later in 2008. With permission from the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Magnus accompanied by local birders Ashley Fisher and Bob Flood, spent the night off 11/12 August on Annet. Magnus was interested in types of calls given by the two sexes of this tiny storm-petrel. The overnight was a great success with storm-petrels numerous wherever boulder beaches were found. The first calls were heard just prior to dusk and by midnight the boulder beaches were alive with the sounds (and smell) of storm-petrels.

Magnus Robb carefully walks along boulder beach listening for British Storm-petrel  Ashley Fisher Magnus locates a nestling British Storm-petrel  Ashley Fisher

Evening approaches and the atmosphere intesifies as the boulder beaches gradually come to life Magnus as viewed through night-vision goggles. Although it is totally dark, Magnus finds an ideal location for recording

Eventually at about 3 am the trio found a suitable area of vegetation on which to catch a few hours sleep before an early morning return to St Mary’s. There are plans for further visits in 2009 utilising MV Mistral to continue the study.

The race is on to get packed away. Our return boat arrives early and some of us have jobs to go to