Monday, 26 August 2013

We're on the Bal!

Balearic Shearwater on the sea off the islands (Graeme Duncan)

First ever to be photographed on the islands? (Graeme Duncan)

Balearic....Manx...Balearic A great combo (Ciaran Hatsell)

Monday 26th August comments: It’s been another good day on the Farnes with yet more unexpected twists. Following the arrival of lots of common migrants (with a few goodies mixed in), there was a general clear-out overnight with the Greenish, Icterine and Rosefinch all gone.

However the Farnes being the Farnes, they still produced. A late afternoon Cuckoo on Inner Farne might have stole the headlines (a scarce bird out here) until two unexpected Mediterranean visitors arrived.

Over the last week or so, unprecedented numbers of Manx Shearwaters have been lingering in large feeding parties and 986 were counted this morning – an impressive haul by any standards. However this super flock produced the star of the show as not one, but two Balearic Shearwaters were found loafing near the outer group.

Balearic Shearwaters are a critically-endangered seabird which breed in the Mediterranean but head north to the Bay of Biscay to moult in late summer. At this time, small numbers usually penetrate the North Sea during this period and the Farnes have had almost annual records over the last twenty years or so.

However to see not one, but two on the sea in a flock of Manx Shearwaters was special and there is even a suggestion that these birds were the first ever photographed from the islands. We’ll not dispute the claim and we’ll not dispute it was another magic moment for Planet Farnes.  

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