Thursday, 4 June 2009

Three counts down

Breeding Fulmars on Brownsman

Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Farnes (last Friday)
© Andy Smith, Farne Islands

Bottle-nosed Dolphins bow-riding Glad Tidings three
© Andy Smith Farne Islands

Wednesday 3rd June Comments:
A day of change on the islands, as the fine, hot sunny weather, which has being verging on the unbelievable at times (for the Farnes), is changing. The wind has switched to the north and although it remains bright, the cooler northerly air has dropped temperatures. Not only that, but the sea state has altered, and once where smooth calm seas were, white caps start to brake. There’s a storm brewing….

The day started early ‘as usual’ for this time of year and we were off on cliff count number three at 06:30. The count went well although with those impending northerly winds, it may delay further counts, so we’ll have to wait and see. The quicker we can achieve our ten counts, the better! Following the counts, we decided to catch-up on some monitoring work combined with some bird ringing. It never stops at this time of year, as everything and everyone is busy. The northerly wind resulted in Staple Island closure (the first in three weeks), but Inner Farne remained open to the public, opening its doors at 13:30.
Once the last visitor boat departed, we settled for a night of seawatching as passage birds were moving north following the switch of the wind. What tomorrow will bring is uncertain, as cliff counts could be postponed and visitor boast may struggle to sail, but I’ll know more when my alarm clock goes off at 06:00. Its just another day in a seabird city.
A final note on the photographs, many thanks to Andy Smith and Micky Craig who provided the shots of last Friday's Bottle-nosed Dolphins - cheers lads, nice work!

Weather: N1-2 increasing 4-5 with bright sunny spells

Breeding birds: The pair of Razorbills at Lighthouse cliff (you can approach within two feet of this pair!!) now have a chick, whilst a good majority of the Guillemots now have young. The newly established Arctic Tern colony in the Lighthouse compound of Inner Farne has now reached a respectable 45 pairs, whilst Sandwich Tern young can be seen from the boardwalk. A second nest of Pied Wagtail (with small young) was found in the courtyard stone wall.
Highlights: Manx Shearwater 51N, Great Skua 1N, Grey Heron 1 east towards Longstone, Little Tern 4, Roseate Tern 2, Bar-tailed Godwit 60, Knot 20, Starling family party.

Butterflies: Painted Ladies 12 were the highlight

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