Another report predicting black days ahead for some of our seabirds - this time the gloomy prognosis comes from the RSPB - I've blagged the copy from the PA Wire, and the pic above ios courtesy of Chris Ison/PA.
BREEDING FAILURES SPARK FEARS FOR SEABIRDS
By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent
The outlook for several UK seabird species is "dire", the RSPB warned today after data revealed widespread breeding failures for Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns and Arctic Skuas.
There are concerns changes in the food supply driven by climate change are affecting many species' ability to breed successfully.
Data from the RSPB's coastal reserves showed the three species suffered major collapses in breeding success in the north this year.
There were just 65 pairs of Kittiwakes on the Scottish mainland colony at Mull of Galloway, a drop of half on 2005 levels, while the situation is even worse on Orkney.
A count at Copinsay reserve recorded 1,881 pairs, a drop of 57% on 1999 figures, while at North Hill just 14 pairs were counted - a decline of 89% over the same period.
RSPB reserves on Shetland and Orkney played host to just 65 breeding pairs of Arctic Skuas, with only three chicks fledging - a breeding success rate of almost zero.
And Arctic Terns seem to be suffering serious long term declines, the conservation charity said.
On Orkney and Shetland, more than 1,000 nests at Mousa, North Hill and Copinsay reserves were abandoned early in the season and the colonies failed to produce any young.
But other seabirds seem to faring better, with Great Skuas, Gannets and Cormorants experiencing modest increases in numbers and herring gull numbers holding steady, the RSPB said.
Douglas Gilbert, an ecologist with RSPB Scotland, said: "RSPB reserves are acting as an indicator of the wider fortunes of seabirds around our coasts.
"The outlook for some species such as Arctic Skua, Kittiwake and Arctic Tern is dire, and there are problems with other species like guillemots and puffins in some areas too.
"Unless conditions change to allow these birds the chance of successful breeding, the long-term future for them is bleak.
"There evidence that this is linked to changes in sea surface temperatures is now growing."
It is believed that warmer sea temperatures, as a result of climate change, is affecting the amount of plankton in the sea and consequently numbers of the staple seabird prey, the sand eel.
The latest bad news for some species follows warnings earlier in the season from the RSPB that a number of seabirds were struggling to breed.
As a result cliffs which should be teeming with thousands of birds were empty and nests abandoned, the conservation charity said in July.
Today the RSPB called for all UK administrations to put the environment at the centre of upcoming marine legislation to ensure it helps wildlife such as seabirds.
There have certainly been fewer Kittiwakes offshore during this year's seawatching season, and now I come to think of it, it has hardly been a bumper year for Arctic Skuas either....
Away from the sea, had a nice Barn Owl over the Formby by-pass just before the Weld Blundell pub junction at 5.30am today, and yesterday got drive by views of what looked very much like a Long Eared Owl at about the same time as it crossed the by-pass further north, where the road goes over the River Alt.
I've heard a few reports of LEOs hunting along the river near here over the years - perhaps it was one of those birds?
By the way, essential maintenance work on blog today from 10am till 2pm, in case you hit any problems. Sorry, normal service will be resumed asap.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...