Monday, 5 August 2013

So long and thanks for all the fish!

What are you looking at?! 

More Puffins than you can shake a stick at!

Fish! Puffins getting plenty of food!

Always up to something, colourful characters!

Our noisy neighbours! Taken through the cottage window!

Elegant and graceful, Arctic Terns will soon be gone!

Good parents! Chicks growing up fast!
Monday 5th August comments: So, it’s been one hell of a season for our seabirds, with several species showing an increase in population and the food supply being the best we’ve ever seen it.

There are really two birds that often stand out on a visit to the Farnes: the Arctic Terns (which give people a warm Farnes welcome!) and of course everyone’s favourite, the charismatic Puffin! It has been a great year for both species on the islands and if you’re very quick there’s still time to see both!

The Puffins had a tough time of it last year, with record rainfall resulting in flash flooding and the loss of several thousand burrows. They also suffered during the winter, with the biggest wreck along the east coast in over 60 years. However, it wasn’t as bad as it first seemed! Some of the birds found on the beaches were over 30 years old, which is fairly old for a Puffin! Also, it was a very small percentage of our population involved and seabirds are very resilient creatures!

After a brilliant breeding season, the Puffins are getting ready to depart the islands, preparing for a winter floating around in the North Atlantic, where they are most at home, bobbing on the open ocean! It’s been settled weather for most of the summer and the birds have had plenty of food. Those two ingredients are all they need for a cracking season!

The team also had the mammoth task of carrying out an entire census of the Puffin population this year for the first time since 2008! This involves sectioning off all the islands and counting every single burrow! The population rose this year by around 8%, climbing to 39,962 breeding pairs! With other colonies around Britain showing worrying declines, the Farnes is increasingly becoming one of the most important places for not just Puffins, but many other seabirds too.

If you have visited Inner Farne, you will also know about our noisiest neighbours, the Arctic Terns. They peck our heads, poo on us and re-create a scene from that famous Hitchcock film ‘The Birds’. Despite all this, these birds are incredible, beautiful and amazing!  They travel to and from Antarctica every year, a 43,000 mile round trip! This makes them the longest annual migrator in the world and also the species that potentially sees more daylight than any other living creature! They have had a decent year on the islands with the population remaining stable and many chicks managing to fledge. More good news!

So if you want to see these two astounding seabirds, get to the Farnes quickly! If you can’t, then there are always future years, in which we hope both these special birds will continue to thrive and breed on this small collection of islands in the middle of the sea. The Farnes, they’re amazing!


Living well with Lewy Body dementia and Comorbidities said...

I was out at the Farne Islands with my wife 10 days ago flowed by a visit last Friday WITH THE Grand Children. We all had a wonderful time and would like to thank you all for being so helpful and making our visits so special and a time to remember.

Martin said...

We are visiting next week (9th to the 16th August) and we some little people desperate to say hi to the Puffins and other birds. Are we likely to be too late?

Unknown said...

Interested to hear an answer to Martin's question too.

Thinking of also coming next week.

Nice write up!