Thursday, 20 August 2009

Welcome back.

Manx Shearwater passing the islands

Distant Arctic Skua with adult Gannet
Wednesday 20th August comments
Refreshed and ready for the autumn. Welcome back to the daily blog from the Farnes, bringing you all the news, views and a lot more from the Farne Islands.

The breeding seabird season is well and truly over and the islands have fallen silent after a hectic summer period. The Terns have gone, as successful family parties start moving south to winter in the southern hemisphere, whilst Puffins are rare (seen only one bird since my return!). The Razorbills and Guillemots have long gone and it’s the end of a very busy but highly successful breeding season. All that remains is a good scattering of Kittiwakes and huge numbers of Shags, the latter remain around the islands throughout the autumn and winter period in ‘super flocks’.

On a daily basis, the islands remain open, with Inner Farne open all day and will continue to do so until October. The team, apart from working with visitors, have started strimming and all the management work we couldn’t do whilst the seabirds were nesting including a new boardwalk.

Today brought some excitement as an Osprey drifted over, mobbed by some angry Gulls. As the British population of Osprey grows, we’ll probably see more records of this impressive fish-eating raptor over the islands. Seawatching was also productive despite the southerly-backed winds (not ideal for seabird movement).

Seawatching: Balearic Shearwater 1N (2nd record of the year), Manx Shearwater 128N, Sooty Shearwater 5N, Great Skua 2N, Arctic Skua 4N Teal 3N, Velvet Scoter 1N and Common Scoter 8N.

Highlights: Osprey 1 east mobbed by Gulls at – the 14th Farne record, Common Sandpiper 1, Green Sandpiper 1 on Staple, Greenshank 1, Golden Plover c400, Bar-tailed Godwit 2, Swift 3 south, Yellow Wagtail 1 west and Wheatear 3
Butterflies: Painted Ladies 20+, Wall 1, Peacock 2 amongst many others

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