In the last year MARINElife have joined other partners organisations such as the JNCC, Marine Scotland, RSPB and BTO to develop and coordinate the CalMac Marine Awareness programme.
This is a CalMac Ferries initiative to raise awareness of the marine environment and monitor marine species on the west coast of Scotland. MARINElife will be leading on the coordination of ESAS certified mentors and volunteer surveyors conducting monthly European Seabirds At Sea Surveys on board 3 Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services. This will be coordinated separately to our ongoing ferry survey network and include the development of a separate pool of volunteers of both existing and newly trained surveyors and mentors, in close association with the JNCC.
To that end, we'd like to welcome our newest member of staff, Simon Pinder, who is joining us as our CalMac ESAS surveys coordinator, supporting ESAS surveys under the CalMac Marine Awareness Programme.
We'll let him share a little about his background in seabirds….
In June 2017 I spent a month on board the RRS Discovery employed by the University of Glasgow as part of a team of marine biologists surveying seabirds and marine mammals (as well as other taxa) at the Evanlov seamount and basin, a region of the sub-Polar Front of the North Atlantic, just south of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. The survey was timed to collect distribution data on four species of pelagic seabirds; northern fulmar and great, Cory's and Manx shearwaters. In addition to seabird transect line data birds were captured and fitted with loggers to track their movements. After the survey was completed visits were made to the colonies of populations thought to visit the Evanlov region and loggers fitted to a small proportion of the breeding birds e.g. to the sooty shearwater colony on Kidney Island in the Falklands, to the northern fulmar colonies on Eynhallow in Orkney and to the Cory's shearwater colonies on Corvo in the Azores. A year later in July 2018 I joined a small team tasked with returning the Cory's shearwater colony on Corvo and collect the tags from the returning breeding adults. The picture below is of me and Tania Pipa of SPEA (Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves), the Portuguese Birdlife International partner taking biometric data from a breeding adult Cory's shearwater.
In September 2018 I surveyed, along with a colleague, the mountains of Rùm in the Inner Hebrides to ascertain the outer and lower limits of the Manx shearwater colony ahead of a full population estimate survey proposed in 2019.
Welcom aboard Simon!