Sunday 18 June 2017

Arctic Terns

You just have to admire the Arctic Tern, it travels more than 22,000 + mile a year as it flies from the Antarctic to Shetland and back each year, seeing more daylight than any other animal.

The Guardian newspaper claims that an Arctic Tern returning to the Farne islands in England clocked up  59,650 miles in one year, the longest migration ever. As Arctic terns can live up to 30 years of age they will clock up thousands of miles

Tern colonies in Shetland have been suffering for many years as adult birds have failed to find sufficient sandeels. The last two years have been better but so far this year i have only see a few terns with small fish- not a good sign.

Sea birds always like to bathe in fresh water and terns are no exception. Places such as Grutness, Scatness & Spiggie give plenty of opportunity and the birds gather together for safety

In 1980 a study (Bullock & Gomersall) revealed that there was 32,000 arctic terns in 369 colonies in Shetland. Numbers in 2014 are thought to be around 43% less than in 1986, for instance on Mousa in 2015, 300 Arctic Terns were present but on 20 pairs attempted to breed

On Noss in 2016, 72 nest had been recorded , the most in a decade. Only 5 chicks survived due to heavy predation from Skuas and gulls.

With 73% of Arctic terns concentrated in the Northern Isles , Shetland is an important place for all seabirds with 21 species breeding

Although this report does not contain information on Arctic Terns it is well worth a read

This contains information on the beached bird survey i take part in

My other blogs etc you may be interested in

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