With the bright sun shining yesterday the Arctic Terns seemed more settled and with a quick glance through on the way down to meet the May Princess our first egg was spotted! This was shortly joined by a second egg and then another by the end of the day. This means only one thing….Hats! We will soon be having the terns diving bombing us if we get too close as they protect their eggs fiercely.
Arctic Terns are also known as ‘Swallows of the Sea’ and are an amazing species, potentially seeing more daylight than any other creature on the planet. Following the sun in the autumn, heading south to the Antarctic for the winter (their summer) and then returning north again to breed. After travelling all that way we can forgive them for a few pecks on the head now and again, they are only protecting their offspring after all. They also breed as far north as the Arctic Circle and have actually been filmed attacking adult Polar Bears in the same way, they really do punch well above their weight!
However today could not be more different with strong north easterly winds blowing and showers, the boats have been cancelled so this gives us the day to catch up on inside and computer work. But a stroll around the island this morning revealed more and more females Eiders leading their chicks down to the water, soon the island will be full of ducklings gathering in crèches.
And it’s not just the birds with young, a baby rabbit was a little lost, hunkering down by a wall before hoping back down in into its warren.
So if you are visiting us in the next couple of months be sure to bring a hat. A good tip is to place a little bit of cardboard or bubble wrap underneath you hat; this cushions the blow of an Arctic Tern beak!