Saturday, 5 May 2012

Barnie Sarnies

Sandwich Terns nesting...but not in the normal spot! 

Great views - Sandwich Terns on central meadow 

Up close - our first nesting Sandwich Terns

Saturday 5th May comments: It’s been a day dominated by the UK’s largest nesting Tern; the Sandwich Tern. The first returnees arrived in mid-March and since then, they have been steadily arriving in Farne waters gathering daily during for the evening roost on Knoxes Reef. Over the last week or so, small numbers have been displaying over the main colony on Inner Farne and gradually birds have been settling and today the first eggs were discovered.

However it wasn’t what we expected.

It wasn’t the number of birds, or the egg laying date, it was the location. The traditional location on Inner Farne (which has been used for decades) has been snubbed. The birds have settled in the opposite meadow, nesting with the huge numbers of Black-headed Gulls. What it does mean is that the views will be stunning for our visitors and it’ll be interesting to see how this all develops to see if the traditional colony also attracts some birds. The Farnes continue to surprise me, even after all these years.

On a different note, migrant birds can still be found around the islands including our long-staying Wryneck (still here!) and a scattering of Redstarts, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. The evening roost attracted 800 Arctic Terns, 450 Sandwich Tern and 26 Little Terns.

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