1st June

We've spent a few recent nights renewing our acquaintance with our old friends the Storm Petrels at the Bill tip. The rewards have been pretty hard won since we've tried three times and still only trapped six (the first try last week was a flop since we were dense enough to have forgotten to charge the lure that promptly died on us just as soon as the first birds had shown up; this week's two attempts produced three apiece which is on a par with the catch rate in recent years - they're far less numerous these days than they used to be). However, with the help of the thermal imager we've had a lot of fun watching what they get up to; conventionally, we use the imager on the 'hot white' setting but the 'hot black' setting seems more appropriate for petrels at night even if it does give the entirely false impression that the action's taking place in some sort of semi-twilight which of course it isn't - it really is pitch dark down there in the early hours! © Martin Cade: