Saturday, 16 May 2009

One in the oven!

Flight fantastic - Arctic Tern in flight

Don't try this at home - Kittiwake in the oven!
Saturday 16th May Comments
Another day without visitor boats as the sea state remained rough although the wind had eased and switched direction slightly, as it started blowing from the south-east. The excitement of yesterday birds continued although the impressive Red-throated Pipit had departed overnight although the friendly Bluethroat remained for his fourth day. The most noticeable newcomer was a ‘blue-headed’ Wagtail on Inner Farne whilst plenty of other commoner migrants made it to the islands.

Thankfully the breeding birds escaped the worst of the brutal sea yesterday although it nearly did claim one life – in a bizarre manner. The turbulent sea had caused large amounts of foam to gather in gullies near the cliff ledges and brought the surprising discovery of a distressed Kittiwake trapped up in the mess. The bird, somehow, had managed to fall into the foam and become trapped, saturated beyond recognition. So, as good wardens, we did what we are trained to do – protect the wildlife of the islands. Twenty minutes later, the bizarre sight of a Kittiwake in our oven (door open!) greeted the lads who had not seen me walk into the cottage with the bird. After a twenty minute blast of hot air, a further hour drying in a box, the bird was restored to a fully operational Kittiwake, which was released unharmed and on its way. We noted the bird later, preening and flying back to its colony – success and a good outcome, if not slightly strange… but then again, this is no ordinary place.

Weather: SE 4-5 decreasing during the evening – a brief shower otherwise sunny conditions.

Highlights: Common Sandpiper 5, Little Gull second summer, Little Tern 58 at roost, Cuckoo on West Wideopens (yesterdays bird), ‘Blue-headed’ Wagtail male on Inner Farne, Swift, Swallow 34, House Martin 8, Sand Martin, Tree Pipit 2, Skylark, Whinchat, Bluethroat male present for fourth day, Black Redstart, Redstart 2 (male and female), Wheatear 3, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Whitethroat 3, Willow Warbler 10, Chiffchaff 8, Pied Flycatcher 2 (male and female) and Siskin

Breeding birds: Despite the conditions yesterday with the rough seas, the breeding birds appeared to have got away with it – the Guillemots on the south end of the islands are hanging on in there whilst the Kittiwakes have restarted nest building. Thankfully the rain wasn’t heavy or prolonged enough to cause any problems for nesting Puffins. Sadly one casualty of the storm was six small Pied Wagtail young, which all perished in the nest on Staple Island – a sad sight indeed. However the parents will bounce back and a new attempt will be made in the near future. Rock Pipits are feeding young on three islands and fledged young will probably appear over the next week around the islands. Cormorants now have young on the East Wideopens and the Arctic Terns remain unsettled and the first eggs are still yet to be discovered.

1 comment:

Jan said...

My aunt used to do the oven thing with weak baby lambs on their farm - good thing no one shut the door on the kittiwake!