Monday 29 July 2013

When it rains, it pours!

Not a good sign, Puffins in trouble (Ciaran Hatsell)

When it rains, it pours (Ciaran Hatsell)

Rangers in action, saving lives! (Ciaran hatsell)

Back from the brink - fluffy once again! (Ciaran Hatsell)

They don't all make it. Newly ringed Shag chick succumed to the weather (Ciaran Hatsell)
Stunning Curlew Sandpiper appreciating the fresh wet mud! (Graeme Duncan)

Monday 29th July comments: After virtually no rain throughout the whole of July, a months’ worth came down at once! The heavens opened on Saturday night and it didn’t stop raining until around two o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday. The islands saw at least 43mm of rain fall in less than 24 hours. This meant bad news for our seabird chicks….

Many small chicks succumbed to the constant downpour, with Arctic Tern and Shag chicks struggling to find shelter and Puffin burrows flooding out. The extent of the damage was not as bad as first feared; seabirds are resilient critters! However, a little helping hand never goes amiss!

The Ranger team once again took to hair drying Tern chicks that were on their way out. Birds that were literally on the brink of death were brought back to life with a blast of warm air. It really was an incredible Tern around! Shag chicks also got the ‘hairdryer treatment’, but sadly it just isn’t possible to save them all. There was some small consolation in all the doom and gloom though….

Although the rain meant bad news for seabird chicks, it was an absolute blessing for our ponds! The ponds, which have resembled the Sahara desert for most of the month, slowly started to fill and within hours of holding water, the pond on Brownsman attracted six Dunlin and a cracking summer plumage Curlew Sandpiper! The bird fed for around four hours before departing, providing a valuable re-fuel for the bird on its migration. These birds breed in arctic Siberia and winter in Africa, so it was undoubtedly grateful for some nice wet mud!

The seabird season is slowly starting to wind down but there’s still plenty to see out on the Farnes in the autumn months. With ringing demonstrations, the seabird exhibition in the Chapel, the Seal season beginning and much, much more; the Farnes really is an amazing place, so come out and see it for yourself!

1 comment:

Sybalan said...

How sad to hear that the Puffin burrows have been flooded and the plight of the young Terns and Shags,
I made my first trip to the Farne Isles on Wednesday on the all day bird-watch, I had heard the weather was to be bad at the weekend,

I was surprised that there were so many younger chicks even some what looked like newly hatched shags that were still featherless, fingers crossed they make it through,

Kudos to the rangers for giving the chicks a blast of warm air,
well done