Experienced travellers

For three months of the year the Farne Islands are buzzing with breeding birds which have returned from all over the world. Migration is what makes the islands special from May to the end of July. The fact that the birds are here for a limited time is an encouragement to make the most of their presence.

They have all made a journey to fulfil their goal of a successful breeding season. After the breeding season many of them travel to take advantage of resources in their wintering grounds. The most accomplished travellers are the Arctic Terns which return from the Antarctic in early May. They have the longest migration of any bird which is an extraordinary feat travelling tens of thousands of miles.

Sandwich Terns travel from the Farne Islands to the warmth of West Africa. In January 2018 I travelled to The Gambia and was delighted to see Sandwich Terns visiting their wintering grounds. I took a train and two flights to get to my destination. The Sandwich Tern made the trip by the power of it son wings only. The excursion was potentially a once in a life time journey for me, the Sandwich Tern makes the same 7,868-mile journey there and back every year which is astonishing. I did enjoy the idea that one of the Terns I spied whilst on holiday could have come from the Farne Islands. Unfortunately, I didn’t spy any that were ringed, so it would be impossible for me to recognize any fellow Gambian travellers. What’s great though is the possibility that one of them is on the Islands right now.