Tuesday 20 August 2013

Shear Delight

Lift off! Manx Shearwater (Ciaran Hatsell)

Showing well.... (Ciaran Hatsell)

Great views (Ciaran Hatsell)

An impressive number (Bex Outram)

Coming in to land (David Kinchin-smith)

Great views of a great bird (David Kinchin-smith)
Tuesday 20th August comments: The Farnes is a magnet for seabirds and in late summer we attract good numbers of Manx Shearwaters on passage. These ‘tubenoses’ don’t breed on the Farnes (they are west coast breeders) but over the last few days, good numbers have been reported locally. 

After sightings of several hundred on the sea yesterday, the team took to the water in their trusty Zodiac boats and soon were surrounded by Manx Shearwaters. The birds were in one large feeding flock, plunge diving in search of food and it was some seabird spectacular. Over 300 were counted with a final estimate of 400 birds on the sea. Impressive by any standards! The record count for the Farnes is just over 700 birds, so this is quite a significant sighting!

Manx Shearwaters are incredible birds, living for over 50 years and flying thousands of miles every year. They cover incredible distances on migration, breeding in Wales and wintering off the coasts of Brazil and Argentina! Similar to Puffins, they nest in burrows, the chicks leave at night and head out to sea. However, instead of floating around in the Atlantic, they head straight to South America!

It is an honour and a privilege to share our waters with these stunning birds, so hopefully they’ll stay around longer for everyone to enjoy. Several Harbour Porpoise were feeding around the large flock of Shearwaters, adding to the incredible spectacle. With the food supply around the islands the best we have ever seen, the Farnes are increasingly becoming one of the most important places in Britain for seabirds. Let them feed! 

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