In 1980 seven Study Plots were selected and set up for annual monitoring of breeding seabirds. These were primarily concerned with assessing changes in the Guillemot population and to a lesser extent Razorbills. This exercise in 1980 proved particularly useful in establishing a baseline for further study. However, it was recognised that it would in addition be very valuable to carry out a full island survey to put these monitoring counts into perspective. It would also be useful in identifying population levels of other species (namely Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shag and Puffin) that were not specifically targeted by the monitoring counts. Thus in 1981 a complete survey was undertaken.
During the survey work it became apparent that not only was establishing the total numbers birds of value, but it was felt important to record their actual distribution. This was useful for ensuring accurate coverage (ie avoiding duplications and omissions) but it was also recognised (from comparisons with earlier survey work and the previous year's monitoring count) that most species were very site faithful and therefore such distributions were likely to be consistent from year to year. As a result the survey process involved establishing a register of all occupied sites - initially maintained on a card index.
A repeat full survey was carried out in 1982, and the site register were taken forward, both as a check on consistency and to seek to monitor any changes. In 1986 a further full survey was undertaken on the same basis. From these three surveys a full Site Register was produced identifying all breeding locations. In addition all sites were photographed and details of where best to view each site from were recorded. This document together with a separate Summary of Overall Counts was produced and distributed to interested parties.
In 1992 a repeat of the survey was undertaken, and details of the Overall Counts for all species produced. However, no formal revisions to the Site Register were issued.
In 1996 a revised Site Register was produced and formed the basis for conducting the 2000 survey. The 2000 survey was documented in a separated "addendum" report which summarised counts to sites, but did not incorporate them in a Site Register.
Purpose of this Site Register
This document provides a further update to the Site Register and incorporates findings and results from the 2000 and 2004 surveys. It therefore contains a detailed definition of all sites identified within the whole island surveys since 1981. Each site comprises a description, a location on a map and viewing instructions. Specific counts obtained for each species in the survey years are shown from 1992 onwards - the 81,82, and 86 counts having been removed to allow space for future recording. Reference to the details of these earlier counts will need to be via the 1996 Site Register.
At any particular site in a survey year there may have been more than one date on which counts were made. For 2004 these are shown individually, but for previous surveys they are summarised into a single count representing the "best" or most representative count for each species / site from that year.