Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Red, White and Blue

Inner Farne's stunning Bluethroat (David Kinchin-Smith)

Feeling Blue? Not with one of these around!

Collared Dove - An uncommon visitor (David Kinchin-Smith)

Sheltering under Mum - our first Eider ducklings of the year

The first nest of many - Arctic terns now on eggs
Tuesday 20th May comments: Today has been another action-packed day on planet Farnes. With an easterly flavour to the wind there came a very welcome passage of birds, with the highlight coming in the form of a Red Throated Pipit over Staple Island. The bird was identified by its very distinctive call as it was not seen on the ground, but a fantastic record nonetheless and the first of this species since 2009! The day continued strongly as later in the afternoon a stunning male Bluethroat was spotted on Inner Farne and was soon giving both visitors and rangers alike fantastic views!

A Collared Dove on the mainland would not give too much cause for excitement, but on the Farnes they are an uncommon visitor. Last year there were only two records of this species, and today we had our first record of 2014 with an individual perched in the old veg patch of Inner Farne. With other birds of note including Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipit, it was a very good day for our passage visitors.

As far as our breeding birds our concerned things are really starting to kick off. Arctic terns are now busy laying eggs left, right and centre, after discovering our first egg last Thursday. Today we also welcomed our first Eider ducklings of the year on Inner Farne. After around six weeks of incubation Shag chicks are now starting to hatch underneath their parents and can be seen around the islands.

Eggs are being laid and eggs are hatching. This is the Farnes at its best so come and share it with us!
Today’s totals: Jack Snipe 1, Roseate Tern 3, Collared Dove 1, Whitethroat 4, Chiffchaff 5, Willow Warbler 4, Sedge Warbler 1, Spotted Flycatcher 2, Wheatear 1, Robin 1, Bluethroat 1, Tree Pipit 1, RED THROATED PIPIT 1

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Heads up!

Stunning adult Arctic Tern

Tree nesting Terns? Courtship display begins

Coming to a head near you...
Saturday 17th May comments: Time moves so quickly and within just a few days the islands have been descended on by our most famous of all visitors; the Arctic Terns. Birds have been displaying and carrying fish and on Wednesday the first eggs were discovered. It'll be a matter of a few days before the first 'head pecking' commences, so be warned. Their back!

Other latest news included the discovery of our first Sandwich Tern eggs and Fulmar eggs and now we just await the first kittiwakes eggs to have a complete set. With Shags on eggs, it won't be long before we are boasting Puffin and Eider young and then the Farnes will be in full flow by then. So come along, enjoy the ride, but please bring a hat.... 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

May Marches On

Puffin on the rocks (David Kinchin-smith)

Packed cliffs with Guillemots (David Kinchin-smith)

Almost ready to nest; Arctic Tern (David Kinchin-smith)

Drake Eider on the move (David Kinchin-smith)

Razorbill on egg (David Kinchin-smith)

Pinnacles full of Guillemots (David Kinchin-smith)

Wednesday 14th May comments: Its been a busy period for the Farne Islands as the breeding season continues to advance; we nearly have all our breeding birds now on eggs; just Kittiwakes and Arctic Terns to go! 

The sunny warm weather continues to dominate which is allowing lots of people to visit and enjoy the spectacular wildlife of the Farnes. So what are you waiting for? Get to Seahouses, get on a boat and visit the 'Galapgos of the North'...you'll not be disappointed. However if you visit, one top tip; bring a hat....those Arctic Terns are starting to rev up...

On the migration front, it's been quiet although a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins have been seen over the last few days, whilst a Bat was noted on Inner Farne (a rare sighting!)

Friday, 9 May 2014

Touch Down!

Touch down....Arctic Terns are here!

Hats at the ready....

Coming to a head near you!

Eider increase in number on a daily basis

But not all good news...predated Eider egg

Friday 9th May comments: Time moves on quickly and this week has seen the return of our Arctic Terns...and they'll be coming to a head near you soon! The breeding season continues to advance and Sandwich Terns are starting to settle (at long last!) whilst Kittiwakes frantically build nests across the colonies. 

It won't be long before all our breeding birds are sitting on eggs and some even have chicks now...So don't miss any of the action and come out and visit. Welcome to Planet Farnes! 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Hats required....

Mallard with ducklings

Nesting Shag

Puffins showing well

Drake Eider attending nest

Female Eiders now on eggs

Migrants still moving through; Lesser Whitethroat

Robin taking advantage of boardwalk construction

Monday 5th May comments: The breeding season continues to advance as more and more birds are on eggs. With Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills all settled, more Eiders are nesting whilst it won't be long before we are celebrating our first Shag chicks!

However it's not all go for everything as the last few breeding species have yet to get started (as usual). Kittiwakes have started frantically nest building whilst the Terns; Common, Sandwich and Arctic continue to display overhead and it won't be long before they are settled and pecking heads... 

You have been warned.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Here We Go.....

Puffins Spring-cleaning burrows (David Kinchin-Smith)

Nesting Eiders increasing each day

Kittiwakes busy nest building

Our first Ringed Plover nest doing well (David Kinchin-Smith)

Summer's on its way - one of our nesting Swallows
Friday 2nd May comments: Spring has sprung on the Farne Islands! As we head into May all of our breeding birds are furiously preparing nests or are already on eggs. Mallard ducklings have already hatched and can often be seen dabbling in the pond on Inner Farne. After a slightly late start, Eider nests have begun popping up all over the islands. They are well camouflaged so see if you can spot one during your visit! Puffins, Shags, Guillemots, Black-headed Gulls and Razorbills have all been on eggs for a while now so it won’t be long before we hear the pitter patter of thousands of tiny webbed feet. Finally our breeding terns are beginning to arrive in huge numbers, scouting out their nesting sites before they settle, lay eggs and start pecking heads! So there really isn’t a better time to come and visit one of the natural wonders of the UK as it kick-starts back into life.