Saturday, 9 May 2009

Back in Business!

Puffins Galore on Staple Island

One of our breeding Rock Pipits

Oystercatchers displaying
Saturday 9th May

After a slight technical hick-up, normal service is now resumed. The islands have experienced a battering of westerly winds over the last few days including gale force breakers on Friday and we witnessed waves breaking over the top of the island (!!!). Needless to say we didn’t have visitors for a few days. Thankfully today brought visitors (and fresh supplies as well as our post), along with huge numbers of visitors, as the lack of sailings recently ensured a backlog of people wanting to visit. Despite the visitors, it was still a turbulent day at times, with the sea less than pleasant on occasions – a few green faces were seen as they departed the boats!

As for the team, life is starting to get busier on the islands, as we had a complete clear out of the cellar on our ‘days off’, along with other jobs including bird monitoring, more painting of the Pele Tower and strimming of vegetation as we ready the island for the nesting Terns! Its been a few days since we’ve made the mainland so we’re hoping for a rest bite in the weather so we can stock up properly (so fingers crossed!)

As for me – I’m a very happy head warden, as I was celebrating my football team’s promotion through the play-offs the previous evening (my soar head this morning testified the celebration). The mighty Gateshead (a non-league team) claimed victory the previous night (really frustratingly I couldn’t attend as stuck on the islands due to the gale force westerly winds which battered the islands), but they are back in the ‘big time’, reaching the Conference National to play against the ‘big teams’ of Luton Town, Chester City, Oxford United, Mansfield Town and Wrexham amongst others. It was a great achievement by the team, management and supporters – so a big CONGRATULATIONS from this head warden of the Farnes, but just wish I was there to have seen it!

Weather: a wild westerly 7-8 decreasing to 4 – the sea was ‘boiling’ at one stage with a heavy squall passing through the islands.

Bar-headed Goose
– one over Brownsman (but sadly not a wild bird from Asia!), Greylag Goose 62N, Red-breasted Merganser pair, Whimbrel 2, Little Gull 1st summer, Mediterranean Gull 1st summer again with Black-headed Gulls at colony – lingering for second month, Little Tern 50 at roost, Swift 2N and Sedge Warbler 1 for second day singing on Inner Farne.

Breeding Birds:
Eiders – over 100 now nesting on Inner Farne with many hundreds more on the way, Shelduck pair nesting on Inner Farne, Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbill all established on eggs, Arctic Terns settling for second day on the island ready for nest scraping – only a week away from first eggs, Sandwich Tern first eggs discovered in main colony, Common Tern 10 pairs settling on island, Ringed Plover – two pairs on Inner Farne with chicks hatched today!


kezia said...

Congratulations David on Gateshead doing well - the sore head was worth it I guess !! You will soon be playing Southampton - not sure if that means we will down with you or you will be up with us - Mmmmm football eh !!! I do hope that sea will keep calm for me when I visit perhaps that is one thing I should pack - sea sick pills ! When you said you had a clear out of the cellar was that the drink in it ?? or other things ??
Lovely pics once again thank you , take care all and have a great weekend and weather permitting lots of visitors .

Ash said...

Good to have you back Mr Steel. Ashy's prediction of the week-Bluethroat and lots of them.

Jan said...

I just love seeing your photos, and thank you for posting them :)