Saturday, 4 May 2013

Older and wiser

How old can Puffins live?

Looking up...Puffins now on eggs

Wheatear saying hello to our Puffins

Better view of a migrant Wheatear

Fulmar's present in good numbers

Saturday 4th May comments: Things are looking up on the Farne Islands as our breeding season is finally underway following a very cold, slow start to the campaign. Several species are now on eggs including Puffins and it won't be long before we are celebrating the full set; with Sandwich and Arctic Terns not far behind.

Our knowledge about our Puffins continues to increase as following the disastrous seabird wreck in March, ringing recoveries have revealed some startling results. A bird washed up on a nearby beach at Cheswick on 28th March 2013 had been originally ringed as a chick on Inner Farne on 24th June 1982.

That is a staggering 31 years old (the UK record is 37 years) and reveals just how long our Puffins can live for. Amusingly the bird was older than any of the rangers currently living and working on the islands (excluding the author!) and is yet another piece of the jigsaw for our Farne Puffins. With a full census of the population to be undertaken this summer, we will hopefully reveal what impact, if any, the seabird wreck had during the late winter months.

On the migration front, things have slowed again with a first-summer male Black Redstart being the highlight of recent days, but otherwise westerly winds dominate and not much to boast about. However with seabirds now breeding, there is every reason why you should visit us. the Seabird City is alive. 

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