Eilean nan Ron


For a small island off the north coast of Scotland, Eilean nan Ron boasts a hefty array of wildlife. It's name translates to 'island of seals' in Gaelic as many breed around it's shores during the autumn. I visited in July with a small team to see some of the island's much smaller residents; European storm petrels. The team spent a week ringing the petrels during the night and the small number of great skua chicks during the day.


Ringing (or banding) involves putting a metal band around a bird's leg, each with a unique code, to identify movements and changes in demography. It's a time-tested way to gather a lot of information about an individual bird and the wider population, and as seabirds are long-lived (many species over 20 years) the quantity of information and resightings can be vast; one storm petrel we caught was previously ringed over 20 years ago, and some had come from as far as Norway!

You can learn more about bird ringing here.