Its been a little while since I wrote (possibly due to the hectic bank holiday weekend) but thought I'd keep you all up to date with some highlights so far from the Farnes season. Normal service will resume shortly!
Shag – nested particularly early this season with well constructed nests seen in mid-March and the first eggs discovered on 1st April. Good numbers nesting on islands.
Cormorant – like its smaller relative (the Shag), its been an early start with three colonies on the Farnes supporting over 100 pairs.
Eider – Pairs continue to invade the islands with the number of nesting females increasing daily. First eggs discovered on 16th April.
Mallard – Two broods of young with females round the islands
Shelduck – the usual returning pair back on Inner Farne – the female being noted going down a nesting hole
Ringed Plover – three pairs nesting on Inner Farne, displaying on Staple and Brownsman
Oystercatcher – pair bonding and territorial disputes observed but no nesting attempts as yet.
Kittiwake – nest building underway but still slow to get going – the species have become late nesters in recent years.
Sandwich Tern – a small number have settled on Inner Farne at the main breeding colony – the first eggs will be discovered soon! Plenty still returning to the islands on a daily basis with up to c1,000 present in evening roost
Arctic Tern – good numbers pouring into the islands on a daily basis with 800+ now present although still two weeks away from nesting. High vocal aerial displays now a common sight above the islands.
Guillemot – Huge numbers now settled on eggs across all the islands and it appears to be looking like another good year. First eggs 19th April.
Razorbill – good numbers nesting including the usual pair on Inner Farne which can be approached by the public to within three feet without a care in the world! First egg discovered on 29th April.
Puffins – Steadily increasing across the islands with thousands now sitting on eggs across all the breeding islands. First eggs discovered on 28th April.
Migrants and first-dates
Sandwich Tern - 28th March
Arctic Tern - 19th April
Little Tern - 25th April
Common Tern - 19th April
Roseate Tern - No records as yet
Common Sandpiper - 2nd May
Swift - No records as yet
Sand Martin - 18th April
Swallow - 10th April
House Martin - 8th April (earliest ever Farnes record)
Yellow Wagtail - 22nd April
Tree Pipit - 25th April
Redstart - 14th April
Whinchat - No records as yet
Wheatear - 21st March (2nd earliest Farnes record)
G’hopper Warbler - 15th April (Farnes earliest ever record)
Sedge Warbler - 1st May
Reed Warbler - 28th April
Lesser Whitethroat - 24th April
Whitethroat - 28th April
Garden Warbler - No records as yet
Blackcap - 7th April
Chiffchaff - 30th March
Willow Warbler - 6th April
Spotted Flycatcher - No records as yet
Pied Flycatcher - No records as yet
Farnes Highlights so far:
Spoonbill 1 north on 19th April
Whooper Swans Good passage during late March
Garganey drake on 27th April in the kettle off Inner Farne - 18th Farne record
Marsh Harrier Female west on 21st April - 17th Farnes record
Hen Harrier ‘ringtail’ east on 25th April - 14th Farnes record
Moorhen 31st March - a rarity out here!
Iceland Gull first-winter on 28th March
Glaucous Gull 22nd March on Knoxes Reef
Mediterranean Gull Lingering first-summer on 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 22nd and 24th April
Short-eared Owl singles on 21st March and 1st April
Long-eared Owl roosting all day on Inner Farne on 21st April
Wryneck Staple Island on 30th April
Red-throated Pipit adult on Brownsman on 28th April, 6th Farnes record
‘Blue-headed’ Wagtail Inner Farne on 22nd April
‘White’ Wagtail 11th, 16th, 18th, 20th April
Black Redstart 4th-5th April and 14th April
Hooded Crow 31st March over Inner Farne
Other non-bird highlights:
Bottle-nosed Dolphins four south on 22nd April
Porpoise recorded on eight dates, mainly through Inner Sound
Bat sp. One lingering on Inner Farne on 26th April-2nd May