Thursday 29 August 2013

Shear Numbers

Sooty Shearwater with its smaller relatives Manx Shearwaters (David Kinchin-smith)

Sooty Shearwater with Manx Shearwaters (David Kinchin-smith)

Manx Shearwater - one of 1,000! (Bex Outram)

Present daily and so impressive (Bex Outram)

Thursday 29th August comments: The settled weather has remained and yet again we have more to shout about. The majority of migrants have now departed to continue their journey south, although our Cuckoo remains as it fattens up on the islands’ abundant supply of caterpillars.

Our attention was once again focused on the sea and the impressive numbers of Manx Shearwaters which have been present in recent days. An early morning seawatch revealed a stunning Farnes record count of 1,008 in one large ‘super-flock’ in Inner Sound, with two Balearic and a single Sooty Shearwater also in attendance.

It’s hard to explain why we have these unprecedented numbers around Farnes’ waters at this moment, although we suspect it is linked to the huge amount of food in the adjacent sea. As well as the ‘Manxies’, over 1,000 Gannets were feeding around the islands which is an impressive sight by any standards. Yet more evidence of how important the Farne Islands and the surrounding waters are to our national seabirds.

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