BBC Film Crew Visits St Agnes For Seabird Recovery Project

Mike Dilger watches as St Agnes school pupils observe a Scilly Shrew. Photo courtesy of Ed Marshall.

Mike Dilger watches as St Agnes school pupils observe a Scilly Shrew. Photo courtesy of Ed Marshall.

A BBC film crew has been visiting St Agnes to see the first results of the project to remove rats from the island.

Mike Dilger, who presents a regular nature slot on ‘The One Show’ filmed the feature the week before last for an upcoming episode of the regional programme ‘Inside Out.’

Sea Bird Recovery Project Manager Jaclyn Pearson took Mike and his team on a late night trip to Gugh to try to film the first Manx shearwater chicks to emerge on the island in years.

The rats had previously destroyed the eggs.

Unfortunately they’d already fledged, which Mike says was disappointing but actually good news for the colony there.

They also set up a special trap, designed to capture a live Scilly shrew without hurting it, and filmed three St Agnes school children observing the tiny mammals.

Mike Dilger says it’s good to hear that Scilly shrew numbers are at record high numbers since the removal of the rats, and that waders like oystercatchers and ringed plover are also doing better.

But he said it’s the Manx shearwater that seems to be “the star performer.”

Mike was impressed with the work and how, with the backing of the local community, the rats have been removed from Agnes and Gugh so quickly.

He says it’s clear that the residents understand just how important the birds are for the local economy, with the likelihood that more birdwatchers and tourists will visit the islands in the future.

Jaclyn says there’s no date yet for when the programme will be broadcast, but is likely to be in the next three weeks.