Tuesday 14 June 2016

Arctic Terns


The second port of call on Billy Shiel's all day birding trip is Inner Farne, home of the now famous Arctic Terns. As everyone knows as soon as you set foot ashore you are assailed by some fairly angry birds, resentful of your intrusion. Also that you require a stout hat to protect your head from well directed pecks, amazingly some people were unaware of this and suffered the consequences. During my visit I discovered that the birds reserve their most vicious response for the wardens, who wear hooded jackets rather than hats. 

Now there has to be some discomfort in the knowledge that you are disturbing the breeding time of such a delicate species, however, the footfall is limited to 400 visitors a day and each visit raises £8, some of which must filter back to benefit the birds. Also, so I am reliably informed, the presence of humans deters the predator species and affords some protection, in fact the Lesser Black-backed Gulls appeared to be absent, the threat coming from the Black-headed Gulls which are nesting in close proximity.

Whilst photographing the birds from the boardwalk I was pleased to have a companion that had a penchant for my new Tilley hat, unfortunately he christened it with a large streak of poo. Not only that, he managed to hit my jumper, trousers, shirt and a well aimed deposit down my neck. All this was offset by being near to a very photogenic subject.

The 59,650 mile record breaker with its journey to its winter home
in the Weddell Sea before returning to the Farne Islands.

Lots of youngsters...



...with more on the way.

If you visit Inner Farne - bring a hat - it makes a good perch.


The sun came out and afforded an opportunity for some in flight shots.

Finally, as I sat in the warm sunshine, waiting for the boat, this Ringed Plover acted out its "broken wing" routine right in front of me. Unfortunately I couldn't locate the reported two chicks in the shingle.

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