Friday 21 June 2013

Sea Swallows

More Arctic Tern chicks are hatching

Adult Arctic Tern in all its glory

Pecking heads near you

Ringing Arctic Terns; providing vital scientific data

Not always Sand-eels...Shrimps brought in by one adult Arctic Tern
Friday 21st June comments: If anyone has visited the Farne Islands recently, you'll remember a visit to Inner Farne for one reason; a peck to the head (or may several pecks to the head). The culprits?  Our Arctic Terns and with just over 2,000 pairs nesting on the islands, we are a significant colony in a UK context (and arguably the most successful from a productivity point of view).

Thankfully the weather has been excellent this summer (in contrast to last June!) and our Sea Swallows (Arctic Terns are known as Sea Swallows) are having a good year. In recent days we've seen more young hatch and with it, our scientific work has increased two-fold. Bird ringing is a vital component of the job we do and this was demonstrated this morning, as an adult Arctic Tern caught in the courtyard of Inner Farne was originally ringed their in 1986. An impressive haul for an impressive bird.

Other seabirds are also hatching young, with all species now feeding hungry mouths. Its a busy time on the Farnes and a great time to visit, so don't know what to do.

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