Thursday, 31 March 2011

Faring Well

The inevitable end to the calm conditions came today with cloudy, at time windy and rainy weather hitting the islands. But as all good birders know changing (especially to unsettled) conditions often grounds birds or at least confuses them!

To us humans this visibility it's just beautiful

Migrants today included 2 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Goldfinch (circling confused in the poor visibility), 1 Goldcrest, 4 Goldeneye and a single male Wheatear in Cuthberts Cove found by Andy just before dusk which was grilled and gripped from ‘top of tower.

The roost again produced new yearly maxima of Sandwich Tern (13) while a visit after dark produced these two gruesome but stonking beauties….

Amaurobius similus - Lace Web Spider - Abundant here

And this thing was preying on them! Anyone know where to find ID please?

Today the winds have strengthened inhibiting birds and birding while the seas continue to grow. Stay tuned for some awesome wave pics hopefully!

Until then have some puffins and stuff.

Puffins over Dock Bank

The wind is jibbing my internet out so that's it for the moment

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


With harsh weather looming upon the horizon of our week yesterdays beautiful weather was relished, by us and the birds!

A morning walk produced Woodcock and a selection of flyover/grounded migrants including Redwing (1), Skylark (1), Starling (1), Meadow Pipit (8) while lingering Linnet (5), Purple Sand (2 – but al most defo more) along with various chat shaped bits provided interest.

Breeding birds are returning to the islands in droves now with a pair of Shellduck joining the puffins in the centre of Inner Farne. While today I observed Puffin display flight and Kittiwakes are collecting nest material for the first time since our arrival.

Kittiwake giving it all that

Anyway back to yesterday….the quality can in all sorts of shapes with an early morning female Wheatear being joined by a male while I looked for a cock Gadwall found by Steely slightly earlier. In due course he showed to all wardens in our first group twitch! Ideal! (Gadwall is less than annual on the Farnes).

Later while watching 7 Sandwich Terns in the roost, 3 Gadwall were found, a red-letter day for this species! With red once again featuring in the awesome sunset...

See you later

Monday, 28 March 2011

Going Veggy

A building south easterly made today cold cold cold, espcially towards early eve. Swells are building and the possibility of being 'cut off' is most definately possible! 

Birding today didnt produce much new other than fly over Goldfinch, Skylark and Red-throated Diver (the former a 'farnes tick'). Lingering birds include Goldeneye, Sandwich Tern, Common Scoter. The ever present seabird, wader menagerie performed as well as ever bringing some ideal viewing.

More Lesser-common Rustic larvae have been found as well so I thought I'd check out some Farnes plants to get an idea of the sort of insects I can expect once it warms up, plus they look fraking cool.

Chickweed and Hemlock in the Courtyard

Plantago coronopus growing on dry places like clifftops

another plantain Plantago major

onto Buttercups..Ranunculus ficaria and repens

some Festuca (rubra I think)

The 3 Dock species - Rumex obtusifolius (L), crispus (R) and acetosa (Below)

And finally some beautiful vistas as a grey day melted into purple haze..

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ice in the sun

After the promise of more cold winds and low temperatures I though today would be a none event – how wrong was I!

Brownsman to Longstone view action flowerfied

Sun shing through my window begged a pre breakfast bird, so I emerged to find Ciaran and Grame recanting tlaes of the female Merlin and Med Gull I’d just missed. A quick lap of Inner Farne produced a few birds, Meadow Pipits, Goldeneye and more missed birds in the form of Red-necked Grebe see  flying north by Jamie.

Sprucing of the islands facilities continued and inevitably required a Brownsman trip so off we went scoring Chaffinch and Small Tortoiseshell before hitting Staple.

Brownsman shiz

After doing some shag ring reading we returned to Inner Farne where after a beautiful sunset a 1st summer Iceland Gull showed well in the roost marking the end to another day of paradise and birds!

Kittiwake, Shag and wardens enjoying life

And of course a sunset ish pic...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Cheeky few days

Been a  productive few days work and bird wise with continued epic weather easing a cold winds impact across the islands.

Wednesday was spent in Low Newton checking multiple Goldeneye on the pools, while sea based individuals fraternised with 2 Red-throated Divers. A White Wagtail and singing Chiffchaff in the dunes brought spring into the realms of reality at last!

Low Newton looking awesome

Common Toads getting it on

The hot weather that had inspired migrants to get out did the same for insects where Large and Small White along with Small Tortoiseshell and Shoulder Stripe were seen.

Shoulder Stripe (Jack Ibbotson)

On an entymological note Lesser Common Rustic caterpillars have been found regularly over the last day or two. Being a polyvoltine species they can be in larval form anytime of year, apart from the cold winter months when they hibernate. So their appearance can surely point to increasing ambient temperatures and day length. They are identical Common Rustic as adults so finding larvae is confirmation of breeding.

Lesser Common Rustic larva (Jack Ibbotson)

Recent highlights from planet Farne include:

Thursdays 24th – Adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Terns in the Kettle, with 1 Buzzard east then west at c.13:00. Visible migration continued with Pipits still obvious while the sea produced some Common Scoter and Goldeneye.

Adult Med Gull

1 of 2 Sandwich Terns

A trip to Brownsnam provided mega type view of Goldcrest sheltering in a wall – aaah the beauty of island birding!

Brownsman Goldcrest (Ciaran Hatsell)

Friday 25th – 2 Goosander north through Kettle, 2 Shellduck, 3 Goldcrest and 1 Jakcdaw on the land with 2 Red-throated Divers and Sandwich Tern on the glass-like sea. The highlight was provided by Jack early evening in the form of Northern Wheatear – at last!

Inner farne Wheatear (Ciaran Hatsell)

Today has been extremely quiet thus far but there’s always time!

And lastly here’s some pics from recent times…

Auk arrival (Ciaran Hatsell)

Whoopers from Sunday (Ciaran Hatsell)

Song Thrush looking rare (Ciaran Hatsell)

Farnes beasts (Ciaran Hatsell)

Oh and check out the Churn!...

Performing best at mid-tide on northerly swell it can reach decent heights and is handy for us wardens who shower once a week if that!

Jack feeling the burn...or cold

Andy down there last night

Me check it out t'other day

and finally heres some sunset pics, you know how I love them! Anyone indifferent to sunsets is dead inside!

Sunset from my bedroom window...

Ciaran captured last nights sunset brilliantly

While Jack took this gripper of the afterglow on our way to Brownsman

Big up yourselves, cheers now.