First and last…

Wednesday 25th August comments: Yesterday was a significant day as we said goodbye to our last Arctic tern fledgling and hello to our first fulmar fledging. Let us explain…

Our Arctic terns have been nesting on the island throughout the summer with the first eggs discovered on 22nd May followed by the first chick from 16th June. Following the first fledgling on 9th July the majority of the family parties had departed the island by early August; except one. The late youngster has been fed by its parents in the area known as the mouse house field and yesterday the chick successfully departed with its parents and that is the last of the Arctic terns for 2021. We wish them all a safe journey to the other side of the world and look forward to their return in 2021.

As we said goodbye to the final Terns, we welcomed our first Fulmar fledgling. This year 321 pairs of Fulmars nested on the island but they take their time during the breeding season. Fulmars don’t start breeding until they are 6-7 years of age (which is old for any bird species) and will lay a single white egg on bare rock ledges or shallow depressions lined with plant material (the first this year was discovered on 16th May). Following the egg laying, parents will take a staggering 49-53 days to incubate after which the young will hatch and the first this year was found on 14th July. Following hatching it takes another 50+ days to get the chicks to fledging stage and that is where we are at. Yesterday the first chick fledged off the cliff ledges and over the next few weeks the entire population will slowly leave and that will officially be the end of the seabird breeding season!

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