Friday, 2 July 2010

Arctic Terns - gloom and (maybe) doom

Loafing (and copulating) Arctic Terns Birsay

Went and checked the Arctic Terns at Birsay again today. At the weekend I'd counted more than 40 chicks, today I could see 5 and suspected that there were another 2 or so out of sight. There were 170 or so Arctics sitting on the rocks, loafing, not a good sign. So it seems this colony is on the way to failure, as apparently are most others. Adults were feeding the surviving young, some with more enthusiasm than others but they were bringing very small fish fairly infrequently. In amongst the loafing adults there were 18 1st Summer birds and one 2nd Summer.

Inland Arctic Tern colony Bosquoy

On Bosquoy the small inland Arctic Tern colony also included a good number of loafing birds, maybe 16. There were a few birds bringing fish and heading into the long grass but I saw no chicks. These birds feed pretty exclusively on fresh water fish from what I've seen but that strategy doesn't seem to be working either.

On a more positive note there were 7 broods of Tufted on Bosquoy today and a very recently hatched brood were holding up traffic on our track as they walked in that general direction.

Tufted brood on the track

I omitted to mention the Black-tailed Godwit that was on The Shunan yesterday. Today Kestrel and male Hen Harrier hunted around the garden and The Shunan.

Mothing yesterday evening (net only) produced a couple of Sandy Carpets amongst the plethora of Silver-ground Carpets. Meadow Browns and Common Blues were out at Birsay today.


1 comment:

Nick Carter said...

Bad news about the Terns, that colony looked so good earlier this year.