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Calf Of Man

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just about (11 am) to start on Radio 4 (and to be repeated Wednesday at 9pm)


"It has taken many years for the BBC Natural History Unit to get onto the Calf of Man, a rugged island to the south of the Isle of Man. The weather and tides need to be right to get on and off the Calf, and for this programme it also had to be a new moon in order to meet a particularly enigmatic seabird which is yet to breed on the island."

Edited by kevster
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shame i cant listen too it, my great grandad used to farm the calf.


Wonder what the rare bird that requires a full moon is??


NEW moon... and it was the Manx Shearwater



Oops sorry.. arr never seen a shearwater.

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"...a particularly enigmatic seabird which is yet to breed on the island."


That's not strictly true. There used to be a huge colony of Shearwaters on the Calf. Their meat was considered a delicacy pickled like herring, and they were hunted in their thousands each year to meet this demand. This seemed to have little impact on the population though, such was the size of the colony. It was believed to be the arrival of rats from a boat wrecked on the Calf around 1760-80, that caused the colony to shrink to almost nothing in just a few years.


The descendants of those shipwrecked longtails are still there in spite of continuing attempts to eradicate them, and are the main obstacle to establishing a breeding Shearwater colony on the Calf.

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You can volunteer for longtail catching on the calf, its a shame there is a problem as the MWT & MNH run a great place out there, I get over there at least a couple of times a year, so peacefull.

i've tried volunteering many times for the MNH and am still waiting to hear back, the last time i contacted them was over 2 years ago, got fed up in the end. The Calf is a great place though i am surprised at the 'lack' of seabirds etc... as one would see at places like the Farne Islands.

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They do need to be chased a lot.... Speak to Duncan, he is the guy I talk too.


Having been around a few times on a small boat, i agree there is not the over whelming numbers, but due to the gulf stream the calf is often visited by quite rare species of birds.

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