Thursday 18 July 2013

Mother Caey's Chicken

Storm Petrel; one of three caught last night (David Kinchin-smith)

Puffin chicks growing ever bigger (CIaran Hatsell)

And the star of the summer remains (David Kinchin-smith)

Thursday 18th July comments: It was a late night last night, as the team worked through the night to tape lure a small, mysterious nocturnal visitor; a Storm Petrel. These small birds (no bigger than a House Martin) feed under the cover of darkness and breed as close as Shetland to the Farne Islands.

Up until the early 1990's, no one knew that these small birds were feeding along the north-east coastline until someone suggested the crazy idea of tape luring during the night with mist nets to allow ringing to take place. The result? Storm Petrels! Last night we tape lured three during the session and were ringed before being released to continue their journey.

Interestingly Storm Petrels have many associations with the sea and its most common folk name is "Mother Carey's Chicken" - Mother Carey was a supernatural figure representing the sea and the birds were sometimes thought to be the souls of perished sailors.

Away from the Storm Petrels, the Bridled Tern continues to delight visitors on a daily basis whilst our first Puffin chicks have fledged - discovered last night during the Storm Petrel ringing. Once again, its all go.

1 comment:

MelB said...

I had no idea a Storm Petrel was so small! Thanks for all the news - what a summer!