Farne Island puffins

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by RockieRV, May 2, 2008.

  1. RockieRV

    RockieRV Deleted User

    The encounter between man and bird was an early skirmish in the battle to count tens of thousands of breeding puffins over the next three months.

    The Farne Islands provide visitors with one of the most spectacular views of nesting birds in Britain and at this time of year puffins can be seen in their thousands as they clean out their burrows, conduct courtship or just wait for eggs to hatch.

    Puffins, with their brightly coloured beaks and ungainly walks, are the chief attraction, but the islands are home to tens of thousands of other sea birds including guillemots, shags, razorbills, and Arctic and roseate terns.

    Feeling down a burrow for a parent bird, egg or hatchling is the tried and tested method for counting breeding puffins, which dig tunnels rather than build nests. Puffins mate for life and return to the same burrow each spring.

    Burrows are often more than a metre long, so counters often have to push their arms in up to the shoulder before they can feel if it is empty or occupied. Some puffins will gently bat the hands with their beaks in warning, others bite hard.

    Another problem is that the birds are hygenic creatures that build two chambers underground, one as living quarters, the other as a loo that fills with rank slime.

    The National Trust wardens on the Farne Islands, off the Northumberland coast, will fumble around in burrows thousands of times over the next few weeks as they assess puffin numbers. It is a delicate, dirty and often painful task and they have to use their bare hands because protective gloves would increase the chances of breaking eggs or hurting the birds.

    The islands host the fourth-biggest breeding colony of puffins in Britain and the largest in England.

    Other sites, including the 500,000-strong St Kilda colony, have suffered in recent years as the birds struggle to find enough fish to feed their young, and the Farne Islands are becoming an increasingly important home for puffins.

    In 1969 6,800 breeding pairs were recorded. The numbers rose to 55,675 in 2003 and this year it is anticipated that they will exceed 60,000.

    Whereas the Farnes have recorded a consistent rise since counts began 40 years ago, other colonies are on the decline because of changes in the availability of sand eels, the puffin's preferred fish. Overfishing and warmer water temperatures brought about by climate change are thought to cause the sand eels to move away.

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  2. Gonewiththewind

    Gonewiththewind Read Only Funster

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    Hi
    Off up there this weekend. will be taking the Grandchildren on the boat trip(if its running) out to the Farne Islands to see the Birds and of cause the Seals. Weather forcast sound reasonable.

    Dont suppose you know any reasonable eateries in the Salthouse area, My Daughters Wedding Anniversary, so thought would take them all out for a meal

    Don
     
  3. RockieRV

    RockieRV Deleted User

    Sorry, I don't Don.

    You may like to look at this link though.....

    Salthouse, North Norfolk Coast, including Salthouse Heath, Salthouse Marshes, Dun Cow Pub
     
  4. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    Hi.

    We go diving to the Farns a couple of times a year.

    Theres a nice fish and chip shop round the corner from the harbour at Seahouses and a great fish restaurant a bit further round (but its not cheap!!!)

    If the weather is nice its a great day out at the Castle just a bit further up the coast on the way out of Seahouses.

    Enjoy!!!:thumb:
     
  5. RockieRV

    RockieRV Deleted User

  6. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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  7. keith

    keith Funster

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    I'm sure you must mean Bamburgh Castle a truly magnificent example of a North East caostal defence of old. Well worth a visit as is the 'chippy' in seahouses. :thumb:

    But the smoke houses of Seahouses are a facinating look into the past, and the smell and taste of smoked fish is something else. :BigGrin:
     

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