Monday 1 September 2014

Farne Islands Seabird Populations 2014

Good year for our breeding Shags

Increase in Arctic Tern numbers

Kittiwake chicks galore

Farne Islands breeding season 2014

It’s been a bumper year on the Farne Islands as mild summer weather combined with good food availability has led to an excellent breeding season. The majority of seabirds showed welcome population increases with some species bouncing back from recent poor seasons. Some of the most noticeable highlights include:

Shag up 37% to 795 pairs (from 582)

Kittiwake up 21% to 4,175 pairs (from 3,442)

Eider up 16% to 639 pairs (from 552)

Sandwich Tern up 16% to 959 pairs (from 824)

Arctic Tern up 15% to 2,212 pairs (from 1,921)

Guillemot up 4% to Farnes record of 51,883 individuals (increase of 1,835)

It was a welcome boost for the Shag population following heavy mortality during the winter of 2012-13 which halved the Farnes breeding population the following year. There was also welcome news for Kittiwakes as the population increased by 21% and good numbers of young fledged; a positive step forward following recent poor breeding seasons.

As has been the case in recent years it was also another good year for our breeding auks with Guillemots at record levels, Puffins producing huge numbers of fledglings and the Razorbill population maintaining itself. Other birds to show increases included both the Arctic and Sandwich Terns, whilst Eiders (also known as Cuddy Ducks) made a welcome increase. Other highlights included the Farnes first ever confirmed breeding of Shoveler whilst Northumberland’s only breeding pair of Red-breasted Mergansers nested again.

In general it was an excellent breeding season; with bumper population numbers, good food supply, settled weather and excellent numbers of young fledging the islands. Encouragingly this success story was mirrored along many other east coast seabird colonies; halting the well documented declines in recent years. The year of 2014 will certainly be remembered as a good season for our nesting seabirds.

Farne Islands 2014 Breeding Numbers

Shelduck 1 pair (down 1 pair)

Mallard 21 pairs (up 6 pairs)

Eider 639 pairs (up 87) increase of 16%

RB Merganser 1 pair (level)

Shoveler 1 pair (first ever Farnes breeding record)

Cormorant 93 pairs (up 6) increase of 7%

Shag 795 pairs (up 213) increase of 37%

Oystercatcher 39 pairs (down 2)

Ringed Plover 6 pairs (level)

BH Gull 610 pairs (up 45) increase of 8%

LBB Gull 799 pairs (up 34) increase of 4%

Herring Gull 937 pairs (up 63) increase of 7%

GBB Gull 17 pairs (up 2)

Kittiwake 4,175 pairs (up 733) increase 21%

Sandwich Tern 959 pairs (up 135) increase 16%

Common Tern 88 pairs (down 6)

Arctic Tern 2,198 pairs (up 277) increase 14%

Guillemot 51,883 individuals (up 1,835) increase 4%

Razorbill 501 pairs (down 4)

Puffin 39,962 pairs (level)


Toby Carter said...

wow amazing records this year especially that Shoveler

Anonymous said...

Still doing seal watching from the Castle on Holy Island, this information is great to pass on to the many hundreds of visitors who I talk to.
Long may you and your colleagues continue to provide this service.