Tuesday 2 April 2013

Winter woes!

Singing Twite, a winter visitor! (Will Scott)

An odd couple! Woodpigeon meets Kittiwake on Staple (Will Scott)
Worrying times for our cheekiest breeding bird (Ciaran Hatsell)

Wit woo! Male Long-tailed Duck, another winter wonder (Ciaran Hatsell)

Tuesday 2nd April comments: Yes, false alarm! The more diligent amongst you will probably have guessed the plans to build a bridge to the Farnes were part of a genius April fools day hoax! So don’t get too excited, it may be some time before you can drive to the Farne Islands!

It’s been a nice calm week for weather and the islands have been open for business, with many people coming out to enjoy a bit of island peace and quiet. Its still cold though! There have been a few signs of spring starting to poke their heads out from the frosty ground, with nearly 400 Puffins turning up this morning; hopefully the start of a comeback! The first Sandwich Tern was also spotted this morning, after winging its way back from Africa and ending up in a snow covered Northumberland,  it’s probably wondering why it bothered! On the other hand, there are still several winter visitors with us, including a Great Nothern Diver, a Black Guillemot, several Long-tailed Ducks and a singing Twite! 

The breeding season certainly isn’t in full swing yet, with very few birds settling on nests. By this time last year we had several pairs of Shags on eggs and many birds were courting in the sunshine! So far this year there has been a distinct lack of breeding activity and even more concerning is the low number of birds local to the islands. There is still plenty of time this spring so it’s not all bad news, Shags can nest right up until September so it may just be a delayed season. It's been a very tough winter for this species and most of our seabirds. We will certainly keep an eye on our seabirds and monitor their progress but for now we’ll settle for some sunshine! Bring on the summer!

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