Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Dolphins Day Visit

Sea swallow: Arctic Tern on nest

Best place to nest: Arctic Tern on boardwalk

One of our 300 pairs of Black-headed Gulls
Wednesday 26th May Comments:
The busy week continued as the school holidays brought out plenty more people, although thankfully not as many as the busy bank holiday weekend (we needed a beer after that one!). The wind increased today, making things a bit cooler on the islands, although this didn’t affect our breeding birds as they got on with life as normal (hungry mouths to feed for some parents). As well as visitors, the team have plenty to do as each warden has a number of breeding seabirds to monitor – checking nest contents on a regular basis. This helps us understand what is going on with our seabirds on an annual basis and it allows comparisons from year-to-year and site to site. Fingers crossed for some good weather over the next few months and I’ll report all the findings as they happen. Otherwise business as usual and the population counts role ever closer…

Highlights: A quiet day as very few migrants arrived on the islands – it’s that time of year when everything should be on their breeding grounds. Roseate Tern - one adult seen again on Inner Farne in afternoon, calling over Sandwich tern colony and landing on rocks near jetty

Butterflies: A small number of Painted Ladies were seen – part of a nationwide influx, but otherwise quiet

Cetaceans: A pod of up to nine Dolphins were seen from several visitor boats between Seahouses and the islands during the early afternoon. Unfortunately none of the warden staff got to see them, but plenty of photographs have emerged and we’re just waiting to confirm if they were White-beaked Dolphins (as suspected by some). The animals remained in the area for over an hour, often bow-riding the boats and were fully appreciated by all who saw them and yes, the wardens were gutted when people arrived off the boat to tell them great stories of Dolphins within feet. Thankfully the lads will hopefully see more over the course of the summer, so fingers crossed.

Breeding Birds: Another good day as Puffin activity has really increased as more chicks hatch on a daily basis – we’ve been finding discarded egg shell around the islands, whilst the first Razorbill chicks were found hatched on the West Wideopens. Although Arctic Terns will not have chicks until second week of June, there are plenty of birds now settled and in ‘full attack mode’ – those visitors without hats will understand what I mean! As for Sandwich Terns, they’ll have chicks soon but will our Roseate Terns stay to breed…only time will tell.

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