Saturday, 19 March 2016

2016 Farnes season is Go!

It's that time of year already. The Farne Islands ranger team are back and ready for 8 months of birds, seals, cetaceans and of course lots of excited visitors. The 2016 season has officially begun for the team as we moved out to the islands yesterday. It was cold, it was raining, but that didn't stop us smiling as we loaded the boat with food, water, and all the essentials required for surviving on a small island in the middle of the North Sea. The journey was smooth and after an epic team effort with much appreciated help from the boatmen everything was safely unloaded and inside the tower.

The 2106 ranger team and a lot of kit ready to go!

Home sweet home. The Pele tower will now house rangers until December

We will be spending the next two weeks getting the islands ready for the 1st of April when we open to the public. We have lots that will keep us busy, with a stretch of boardwalk to build, some jetties to scrub and some deep cleaning of all the buildings needed. You will also be pleased to hear that we had some maintenance done on the toilets over the winter, and we have some new ones being installed before opening!

The stretch of boardwalk on Inner Farne that we will be building shortly

As is always the case we are not alone out here! Some shags are already sitting tight on nests, Fulmars are on their breeding sites and the sound of Kittiwakes on the cliffs can be heard through the night. The Rock Pipits are also singing their hearts out. With the first Puffins reported a few days ago, there were only 2 or 3 present yesterday. It is normal at this time of year for them to come and go as they continue to feed themselves up in preparation for the breeding season. It won't be long until the islands are once again home to some 85,000 pairs of birds.

One of our Shags looking settled and very smart ©Ed Tooth

It's not just the seabirds that got our attention yesterday. As we explored the Inner Farne for the first time, we were very surprised when we got a shout from Tom saying that he'd found a Great Tit in the Lighthouse Compound. By the time the team arrived on site it had moved on, but was re-found and seen by most later in the day. A very common and often overlooked bird on the mainland, this individual represents the 6th record in the last 10 years for the islands. There was also a cracking male Snow Bunting and 2 Blackbird present. It won't be long until we start to see more migrants passing through the islands! Spring is on the way.

The star bird. Great Tit on Inner Farne © Ed Tooth

Stay tuned as we will bring all the latest news from the islands over the season right here, and on our twitter feed @NTFarneIslands

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