Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Creeping Beauty

A cracking bird - the Farnes earliest ever Grasshopper Warbler

A migrant Willow Warbler passing through the islands

A quiet Brownsman in foggy conditions

Wednesday 15th April
Fog bound and cut off! That summed up the day and whilst parts of the UK was basking in sunshine, we had low temperatures and thick fog. I can’t really complain as we’ve just had a great spell of weather and these conditions can bring in some odd migrant birds to the islands – which it did! The thick fog and cool easterly breeze resulted in the closure of the islands to the public as the visitors boats failed to sail and they weren’t the only ones missing from the islands as all the Auks disappeared!

Having thought all the birds were settling on the islands, the Puffins and Guillemots were gone, back to sea and away from the Farnes. This behaviour is typical for the time of year and no doubt they’ll be back, but probably not until tomorrow at the earliest. Away from the breeding birds, the highlight of the day was a crazy Grasshopper Warbler, the Farnes earliest ever record, which ran about on the ground (they don’t like flying!) at the observers feet. The creeping little critter showed well and the ‘walking not flying’ policy is very typical of the family group, and was another good early highlight for the Farnes.

As for the team, they never seem to sit still, and despite the lack of visitors, they went about work as usual, with more painting – this time the kitchen on Brownsman, whilst jetty scrubbing, vegetation management and pumping seawater were also on the agenda.

Weather: Thick fog with E 1-2 all day

Highlights: Wheatear 9, Blackbird 4, Blackcap 1, Willow Warbler 4, Chiffchaff 1, Grasshopper Warbler 1 on Brownsman (earliest ever Farnes record surpassing an individual on 17th April 2000), Siskin 5 over

Breeding birds: The Auks were completely absent all day although Shags, Fulmars and Kittiwakes remained loyal to the cliff ledges. Due to the thick fog, there was no counts of the Sandwich Tern roost, whilst a third nest of Ringed Plovers was discovered.


Jan said...

Scrubbing the jetty! You really do work hard - maybe you could come and help do my conservatory floor ready for spring? :)
Strange how the auks come and go, I hadn't realised that was usual behaviour. I expect it seems quieter than ever without them and with the fog. Still, you escaped the enormous very loud thunderstorm which hit Leicestershire around 4am, a house near us was struck by lightning but not too badly damaged thankfully.

Mark said...

Alright David. Still loving the blog, ang great gropper photo! What do you reckon to the Willow warbler being a 'northern' acredula bird? Lack of yellow tones and darkness of legs certainly suggest this to me. Bet you're gonna enjoy the spring you jammy sod!

All the best mate,

MArk Lewis

Ipin said...

Is that your gropper pic Steely - it's a belter!

You must be blimmin freezin oot there, it's cold enough down here at Druridge!