Wednesday 29 July 2009

The Puffins have just left the building...

Gone but not forgotten

Goodbye for another year
Wednesday 29th July comments:
Goodbye and good luck. Tuesday 28th July was no ordinary day on the islands as all appeared well by mid-afternoon, but only a few hours later, they were gone. Almost the entire population of the Farne Island Puffins have gone and that is it. You won’t see them on the islands, you won’t see them at sea, they’ve gone and their not coming back (well for this year at least!).

Puffins are true ‘seabirds’ as they spend as little time as possible on land, so they come in, breed, raise a chick and leave, all within four months. The first Puffin egg was discovered on the Farnes on 28th April and here we are, only 92 days later and they’ve gone. It’s the same all over the UK, the ‘comical little fella’s’ have departed and will spend the next eight months out at sea, not returning to land. It’s a hardy life for a bird which is no bigger than a bag of sugar, but a reasonably successful one. Although there has been no full population censes this year, the season has been excellent as huge numbers of chicks have fledged and this is the end.

However for those visiting in the next few weeks, don’t be disappointed, we’ve got a few late stragglers, probably about 500 remain, but be quick, as they’ll be going soon! Its change elsewhere as well, as the Sandwich Terns, youngsters and parents have now completely moved away from the island ‘top’ – giving it a 'bare' feeling and certainly a lot quieter. The Arctic Terns are also on their way whilst the Guillemots and Razorbills have gone. Its also only a few days away before we open Inner Farne all day and we say goodbye to Staple Island for another season – blimey, where has time gone. It’s the ever changing face of a seabird colony and the Farne Islands.


Josemaphine said...

Just wanted to say thanks to your blog from last week my sister and I managed to squeeze in a second visit (for 2009) before all the birds completely disappeared!
We came up for a day trip on the 25th ( a day trip which started at roughly 4am, finished at 1am the following morning and included approx 700 miles of car journey - yes completely insane but totally worth it!); the weather was beautiful' the birds and seals were on fine form, much fun was had!
Looking forward to next years season already, will keep checking the blog for all the news

Jan said...

Goodbye and good luck, puffins! Hopefully the GPS tags will let you find out more about where they go and so on.
And with terns, razorbills and the rest either gone or going, you must feel like you've sort of lost your hearing - do you miss the noise and commotion?