Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Stunning: Arctic tern in flight

Numbers looking good: Razorbills on the up

Shags galore

Chicks at last: Kittiwake on nest
Wednesday 17th June comments:
At last! The final cliff counts were complete early on Monday morning and the teams, both Brownsman and Inner Farne celebrated…by going to bed early and having a lie-in (well until 8am at least). The early morning shifts are now over and its down to me to crunch all the figures and produce the population totals for the islands for the season.

The effort by the team has been massive and since 1st June, over 77 hours have been dedicated to counting the seabird populations of the Farnes alone (this is not including our ‘normal daily duties’). With just a few ‘satellite’ island counts to go, the task is almost complete. So watch this space for updates and I’ll bring you all the news very soon.

As for the islands, it’s currently raining. The stuff we have lacked for several months is now falling from the sky and it couldn’t have been at a worse time for the seabirds. Following the news that we now have Kittiwake chicks, all the colonies could do with a few weeks of great weather and then we’ll be reporting great successes. If only everything was as simple as that as rain can and will kill small young and eventually start causing other problems, like flooding of Puffin burrows. Only time will tell, but I could do without much more rain, otherwise we’ll have problems on our hands. Keep those fingers crossed…

Other than that, all is well on the islands, the team are shattered after the population counts, and all deserve a BIG thank you for their efforts, but we’ve still got a long way to go. Interestingly we carry out visitor surveys across all National Trust properties in the country, looking at the visitor experience and with a rating of 87% by the end of May, we boast second spot nationally – so a big thank you for all those who returned the forms and it reflects the brilliance of the islands and the staff which man it. Anyway enough of thanking my team, they’ll let it go to there heads (only joking lads), we’ve got lots of seabird monitoring to carry out and lets hope we produce some good results.

As for the seabirds, its ALL go now, as everything has chicks including all the Terns, so feeding hungry mouths has become the number one focus of attention. If anyone wants to see a seabird colony at its best, visit now, its amazing and you’ll never forget it.

Breeding birds: Cormorants have large young almost ready to fledge, Shags have medium sized young, Kittiwakes have newly hatched young, Guillemot and Razorbill youngsters have started leaving the colonies as they fledge successfully, all Puffins have chicks, all Arctic and Sandwich Terns have small chicks, Wrens, pied Wagtails and Rock pipits have fledged young whilst the Swallows continue to nest build.
Cetaceans: Porpoise are starting to be re-seen around the islands with two near Inner Farne yesterday although there have been no recent sightings of the Bottle-nosed Dolphins.

1 comment:

kezia said...

I have my fingers crossed David and hope its not raining too hard up there - pouring here at the moment in Hampshire !! Great pics again thank you to whoever took them . Sounds like your boys have worked really hard . Congratulations on the survey but you should be first - who is first ??? I must have a word with the powers that be !!!!!!!!!!!!
Well done lads on your hard work make sure he treats you to several beers .
I see you say the swallows are nest building so I presume they have restarted ? that is great . So my fingers are crossed for all those little chicks . Take care all .