Saturday, 2 June 2012

Nest Count Looms...

 Counting of the cliffs continue

Pinnacles counted!

'Bridled Guillemots' on the sea

Saturday 2nd June comments: With all the excitement of the spring migration, it’s now time to concentrate on the seabirds and when I say concentrate, I mean concentrate. Tomorrow (Sunday) the Inner Farne ranger team will complete the ‘big day’ – nest count day!

Starting at dawn (for those rangers reading – YES 4am start!!) the team will rope off and divide Inner Farne and then count the island systematically for all ground nesting seabirds. It’s a simple but long process as each person will count nests (each nest represents a pair of birds) and by the end of the day we will have a result. Easy?!

It’ll take the team best part of 14 hours to complete, all in one day, so I suspect we’ll be early to bed on Sunday evening. The difficulty of the day comes in the concentration levels which are required, as ranger’s tip-toe between hundreds of Tern nests, avoiding eggs and young, whilst being attacked from above for good measure!

At the end of the day, apart from tired rangers, we’ll have population figures of all ground nesting seabirds including Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns, Eiders, Mallards, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover to name but a few. Then on Monday, we will do it all over again, this time on Brownsman.

Welcome to a busy month for the Farne Island rangers. I’ll keep you informed if my eyes stay open long enough.

1 comment:

beardypete said...


I visited the Farnes on a recent warm day (28th May) and asked if any of the staff on Staple Island knew what the Shags' panting behaviour was called - the best that they could manage was a rather generic 'they're thermo-regulating', to which I said, 'me too!', pointing to my armpits, lol!

What I was really after was the technical term, but I couldn't remember it - I think that Chris Packham had coined it on last year's Springwatch coverage of Barn Owl chicks, who were in danger of overheating and were panting for all they were worth.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, on returning home I've researched the subject and I've found that the correct term for this behaviour is 'Gular Fluttering' and there are a number of learned papers on the subject that can be googled.

I hope that this info can be passed on to the Farne Island staff to add to their knowledge base - they're super folk, enthusiastic and helpful and a real asset!

Pete Clayton from Glossop in Derbyshire