Migrant Kings

Wednesday 28th November Comments: In yesterday’s Isle of May blog post we touched on the whereabouts of our seabirds during the winter. Whilst the majority remain in the North Sea, some do venture much further and in some cases, across the other side of the world…

One of our summer breeders the Arctic Terns are the world’s longest distant bird migrant (get your head around that!) These wing-wizards spend the summer breeding on islands such as the Isle of May which provide safe havens to nest, generally predator free and provide a good food supply in the surrounding seas. However these birds leave our shores in September and head south…. (and as south as you can go!)

Unlike other Tern species which winter off West Africa, Arctic Terns keep going and by late November (about now) are feeding off the pack-ice of the Antarctic. Some of these long distant travellers go beyond New Zealand for the winter and considering they live beyond 30 years, they really do pack in the miles (they can clock over half-a-million miles in a lifetime!!)

As the winter fades, the birds will turn their attention into returning north and will be back in late April around the Isle of May to start all over again. So the next time you visit in mid-summer, take your hats off to appreciate the king of migrants but please beware, watch your heads…

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