Thursday, 22 July 2010

Thats no Puffin!

Check me out - and the islands moth trap behind! (by Wez Smith)

Gannet up (by Wez Smith)

Gannet on the dock bank (by Wez Smith)

Thursday 22nd July comments: Gannets don’t breed on the Farnes, never have and possibly (I’ll not stick my neck on the line) may never breed on the Farnes. So imagine our surprise when walking around Inner Farne and discovering an adult checking out our moth trap!! The bird, in good health, decided to walk along the dock bank area of the island, nonchalantly walking past the admiring wardens and walking down to the sea and away!

Apart from that, we’ve been closed today as strong winds whipped up the sea from the north but we are due to be open again tomorrow, so no lasting damage.

Latest news:

Puffins still with us, but just a matter of time before they leave!

Guillemots almost completely gone

Arctic and Sandwich Terns – large roosts on Longstone and Inner Farne

Roseate Tern – family parties starting to show throughout the day on Inner Farne – birds moving up from nearby Coquet Island

Sooty Shearwater - first of the year north on 22nd July

Bottle-nosed Dolphins 2 lingering offshore on 20th-21st July

Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1 on a visitor boat and then Inner Farne on 21st July

Wood Sandpiper 2 – singles present Inner Farne and Brownsman on 22nd July

Monday, 19 July 2010

Chicks away

Hello world - a Puffin chick ready for release

Is that really food mum?

Resident warden Sarah rescuing Puffin chicks for evening release

Monday 19th July comments: Puffin chicks are curious creatures. They are born underground in a burrow, in pitch darkness and remain there for forty days, being fed by attentive parents and then, without adult consent, leave and head out into the outside world. Under the cover of darkness, chicks will emerge and walk across the island until they reach something they have never seen before - the North sea.
Despite breaking waves, during the dead of night, the chicks will paddle out without any fuss, heading for the open sea where they will spend a staggering three years before returning (hopefully) to the islands to breed and join the large Puffin colonies of the Farne Islands (and now you know why visitors never see Puffin chicks...)

However not all goes according to plan. During the dark hours, a small number end up in buildings, lost and a bit perplexed. The Chapel and Information Centre on Inner Farne are favourite places and this is where the wardens step in. A helping hand (or a box for the day) and the Puffin chicks are soon released unharmed and the world as they know it continues. So welcome to the world of the Farne Island wardens - this event has been occurring for the past few weeks and will continue to do so for a bit longer yet. Last night we released thirteen - and with a lifespan of thirty years, they might even outlive this head warden on the islands!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Look who's back...

Where have you been...
You still with us? well of course...

Terns galore over the Chapel on Inner Farne (by Graeme Duncan)

Shaggy crest - Sandwich Tern (by David Andrews)

Having a good season -Shags on the cliff tops (by David Andrews)

Showing off - an Arctic Tern on Graeme's head

(from left to right) Tom, Jason, Mark and Graeme up the Longstone Lighthouse

Saturday 17th July comments:
Welcome back everyone, where have you been? We’re back in action after technical difficulties (I blame those pesky puffins for interfering with the internet transmission on the islands!). One month is a long time in Farnes terms and so much has happened, so let me fill you in….

The seabird breeding season is almost at an end, as chicks galore are fledging from nests throughout the colonies on the Farnes. The warden team have monitored several thousand pairs of birds ranging from Puffins to Ringed Plovers and over the next few weeks, the data will be analysed to see just how well we have done. Speaking from experience (I’ve been here long enough!), it appears to have been a good year, but all will be revealed soon. Hasten to say, its been a typical busy summer, with plenty goings on. Over the next few weeks I'll bring you up to date with all the latest news, both good and bad.

As well as the seabirds, the warden team have had a hectic summer (as usual) working hard helping to study and protect the wildlife as well as welcome thousands of visitors to the islands. I'll be bringing you the news and views from the team so you had better stayed tuned.

So what next? The seabirds will gradually disappear from the islands over the next few weeks or so, whilst migrant birds will start arriving and the autumn migration will kick in. The way the year is going, it won’t be long before we are back working with our old friends, the Grey Seals.
Its good to be back.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Technical Hitches

Hi everyone!

David and his team are having some technical problems on the Farnes at the moment and can't get online. We hope to get this problem sorted soon after which you can log in for all the latest news and gossip from the Farnes... Thanks for being patient!

All the best,

Communications Officer
National Trust, Yorkshire and the North East