|You looking at me?|
|The sad demise of a stunning bird...Shags in serious trouble|
|Mallard pairing off and now on eggs|
|Kittiwakes present but doing very little|
|Herring Gulls keeping a watchful eye|
Thursday 11th April comments: Three weeks in and we thought it would be a good time to review the start of the Farne Islands season. We use the term ‘start’ loosely, as it’s been anything but a start! The weather has dominated proceedings with a continued spell of easterly winds bringing low temperatures and heavy seas.
The resulting effects have seen seabirds struggling, with wrecks reported along the east coast in late March and for some, especially the Shags, compounding what had already been a poor winter for survival. It’s been a tough start and is in complete contrast to the last few years, where mild spring weather has encouraged early starts.
Some great examples of the contrasts are evident, as last year we had Shags on eggs by 23rd March but this year we still await the return of many birds. The blocking winds have also slowed migration as the evening roosts have produced just eight Sandwich terns – by this time last year we boasted over 600… It’s a very strange start, very slow and very cold. Frozen Planet Farnes.
Breeding bird update:
Shelduck: Pair present on Inner Farne daily prospecting.
Eiders: breeding season yet to start, small numbers around the islands displaying.
Cormorant: nest building and present on the two main colonies.
Shag: very few birds present following a poor winter (mortality high) with only slow signs of the breeding season starting.
Kittiwake: Paired up and present in small numbers on the cliff tops
Guillemots and Razorbills: Erratic behaviour with thousands of birds present for short periods but then out to sea and away from the islands for longer periods.
Puffins: spring cleaning of burrows and present occasionally over the last week.
Black-headed Gulls: numbers increasing (up to 600) with aerial displays starting.
Sandwich Tern: the blocking weather front has kept numbers low with a maximum of 8 present – there was 600 in the roost this time last year