Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Some Diems Need To Be Carpe'd

the fairy-like elegance of the Arctic Tern

Much of the UK tracks the televisual seasons of the year by Strictly, talent shows or celebrities in a jungle. Those aren't really my sort of thing.
I count down the days to Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and, most especially, Springwatch.

Springwatch is one of those creations that is so much a part of BBC's culture it's like the Beeb distilled. It's earnest, a bit geeky, silly, incredibly local and yet also national, and is grounded in a will to educate and inspire. I love the presenters even when they drive me crazy, I love the stories that carry across from year to year (Monty the Osprey! Chris the Cuckoo!) and I especially love how excited it makes me about new species every time.

A while back, Iolo Williams reported from the Farne Islands. As well as the adorable puffins, it was the Arctic Terns that amazed me. They had put a tracker on a tern to see if their estimation of the distances he flew was accurate.  Not a chance - he flew 97,000km in a single year. What a champion.

I wanted to see them myself - what an incredible sight it was, those thousands of birds ad grey seals  coming to stay on these rocky islands. Last year we just didn't have the opportunity. This June, we grabbed a two day gap while Mark was still not working and went north.

The Farnes were everything I'd hoped - stunning, exciting, teeming with wildlife and lit up by warm summer sun.

It was only through help of my ace friends that I could seize the chance to abscond overnight and see this marvellous sight, and I am very grateful.  The trip will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The stacks - more birds nesting than is plausible 

Glossy, gorgeous guillemot and her brood

Arctic terns thought Mark was a well dodgy geezer

keeping a watchful eye for the thieving gulls

every dot is a returning puffin

Razorbills are very handsome

back on the mainland, looking over a beautiful sea

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