Sunday, 7 October 2012

A Turtle in the hand’s worth two in the sea!

Catching some sun - our resident Turtle Dove on the North Rocks (Ciaran Hatsell)

A turtle in the hand - what a beauty! (Bex Outram)

Intricate patterns - the more you look, the more detail you see (Bex Outram)

Sunday 7th October commentsWith the westerly winds rolling back in, it’s been great to still have some migrant birds lingering on the Farnes, allowing the rangers and several visitors the chance to enjoy excellent views of both the lingering Turtle Dove and the stunning Grey Phalarope.

With ringing activities continuing we have also had some great opportunities to show people migrant birds up close and personal. We catch birds to attach a small metal ring to their legs in the hope that they will be caught elsewhere, enabling us to gain valuable insights into the mysteries behind bird migration. The beauty of ringing on the Farnes is that more or less every bird we catch at this time of year is on its way somewhere (usually to somewhere warmer!), so the chances of it being caught elsewhere are surprisingly high! During ringing activities, the Dove found its way into the net and enabled us to have a closer look at this beautiful bird.

Considering Turtle Doves winter south of the Sahara Desert, a small island in the North Sea isn’t the best place for it to be right now! The bird wasn’t carrying much fat, which is probably the reason it hasn’t moved on yet. With this being the 13th day of its stay, it may be using the islands as a fueling station before it heads off on its long journey south. Let’s hope he makes it! If you’re planning a visit to the islands, we’ll do our best to show you some migrant birds. For now though, it’s those cheeky Grey Seals grabbing most of our attention as the ranger team begin the task of counting every single pup born on the Farnes this year. Our first pup Rocky is still doing well, so just 1500 more to go! More on those pesky seals tomorrow...

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