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Farne Islands

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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 22:37   #1
mickporter
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Farne Islands

Mabe a daft question, but: I am off on holiday in a week to Northumberland, and wife permitting I am planning a full day on the Farne Islands.

Should I travel light with just binns etc. Or should I / or do I need, to take the extra weight and carry a scope??

I don't want to make things difficult by lugging around all that weight if not neccessary. However I don't want to miss out on an opportunity.......
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 05:58   #2
hampers
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I've been a couple of times and never used a scope. You are so close to everything on the island there is little need for a scope. However, I've been concentrating on photography on the island, the photographic opportunties are excellent. It may be that if you are going a full day trip it could be useful to do a bit of seawatching, I had an arctic skua after terns last week, from Bamburgh.

Phil
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 08:10   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampers
I've been a couple of times and never used a scope. You are so close to everything on the island there is little need for a scope. However, I've been concentrating on photography on the island, the photographic opportunties are excellent. It may be that if you are going a full day trip it could be useful to do a bit of seawatching, I had an arctic skua after terns last week, from Bamburgh.

Phil
Good advice from hampers. Leave the scope in the boot (unless you are there all day) and just take the camera. Almost everything is approachable.

John.
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 09:52   #4
Keith Reeder
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Yeah, you'll be steppping over birds, Mick - the scope will be superfluous!
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 11:01   #5
James Blake
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I visited Inner Farne for the first time this month and really enjoyed it. As Keith has hinted, many of the birds are so tame and so close that even bins are often superfluous.

I went on a Saturday and the island was crowded with visitors - if you're after any degree of solitude, I'd advise a midweek visit - or one of the trips that lands at the island that's further out than Inner Farne.

atb
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 11:41   #6
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Take your scope!
It's only a tiny island so not a lot of walking to do and you will always get better views through a scope than bins.
Plus if you don't take it you can guarantee that you'll need it.

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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 16:19   #7
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Take a hat - those terns are buggers when they start dive-bombing you.

I didn't take a scope when I was there a few weeks ago, but I had trouble when I was trying to look for Roseates in amongst the Commons/Arctics that were a fair distance from the pathways. Maybe the trouble stemmed from the fact that there weren't any Roseates there, but I'll never know....

Adrian
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 16:32   #8
Sandra (Taylor)
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There are half day trips that land on Inner Farne or Staple Island and I think a full day that goes to both. But don't bet on the boat sailing on the day you want to go. My son went some weeks ago for a week and it was only the day before he returned when the boat was sailing. Other days seemed OK but there was wind out at sea and landing wasn't possible. He took his scope but said he didn't need it.

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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 19:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blake
I visited Inner Farne for the first time this month and really enjoyed it. As Keith has hinted, many of the birds are so tame and so close that even bins are often superfluous.

I went on a Saturday and the island was crowded with visitors - if you're after any degree of solitude, I'd advise a midweek visit - or one of the trips that lands at the island that's further out than Inner Farne.

atb
James
Having recently been on the all day trip which lands on Staple as well as Inner Farne I think you can forget solitude which ever trip you go on! It feels a bit like conveyor belt birding, but still a good experience. The two islands are very different so it is worth doing the all day trip.

Personally I reckon you would be wasting your time humping a scope. As others have said the birds are at your feet and in fact at times you have to take extreme care that they are not under them. I understand that there is one pair of Roseates on the Farnes. That information was given to us by the wardens. I guess if you want to spend all day looking for them, your scope might be handy, but I suspect you will have other birds to occupy you. Best call at Amble near Coquet Island for the Roseates or have a return visit in August and visit St Marys Island at Whitley bay where the Roseates call on migration.

Enjoy your visit.
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 22:08   #10
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Cheers guys I feel a lot more confident now. One last question is it too late for puffins? or may there still be some there??

All my years birdwatching I have never seen a puffin!!
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Old Monday 17th July 2006, 22:19   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickporter
Cheers guys I feel a lot more confident now. One last question is it too late for puffins? or may there still be some there??

All my years birdwatching I have never seen a puffin!!
Get ready to see lots of Puffins next week then. I believe they are around untill late August.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 14:05   #12
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Farne Is bird season

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickporter
Cheers guys I feel a lot more confident now. One last question is it too late for puffins? or may there still be some there??

All my years birdwatching I have never seen a puffin!!
Hello Mick
I rented a cottage for the week in Seahouses 2nd week in May. We managed to take the full day birding trip on the Monday the rest of the week the landings on Staple were aborted due to the heavy swell. So you take a chance, they will tell at the booking office they may not be able to land if its too rough. Its well worth the try. I would like to visit again but a few weeks later next time because the Puffin's were sitting eggs. Check my blog you will see I got plenty of Puffin's. http://royhphotos.blogspot.com/
I would think there will be thousands of Puffin's I was disappointed I did not get a shot of one carrying sand ells.

You could take the half day tour this way you would be certain of landing on Inner Farne its just a bit iffy landing on Staple due to the tides etc. If you take a seperate trip its half price so you would not be as disappointed if they don't get you ashore. There are landing fees onto both islands ( NT members free ). Think if go again I will take the single option because I know the island and one hour would be ample time for me to take more photographs. Tip, use Billy Shields they are more likley to get you onto Staple....not related to Billy.....Don't waste any time because the birding tours end July 31.

Wear good footwear and hat, the turns did not bother us it was too early but I went prepared.

Regards, Roy.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 14:27   #13
June Atkinson
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Red face Farne Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickporter
Cheers guys I feel a lot more confident now. One last question is it too late for puffins? or may there still be some there??

All my years birdwatching I have never seen a puffin!!
Well, you'll see lots of them, all over the sea and over the islands.
It's worth looking at the Farne Islands web sites:

http://www.farne-islands.com/boat-trips/

Explore The Farne Islands
Aboard Motor Vessel 'Glad Tidings'
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Billy Shiel M.B.E - Est. 1918
Seahouses - Northumberland
[b]Tel: +44 (0)1665 720 308

www.farne-islands.com/bookings/index.htm

http://northumberland-coast.co.uk/

If you're there for a week, it's worth choosing the optimum period to go - calm sea, low tide and fair weather........makes a huge difference.
We have done this trip umpteen times, as we live locally, but the last twice, we were able to go right in close to the rocks, because of the low water, and we actually heard the seals singing on the rocks not twenty yards away from the boat.

Three other spots to go to if you have time:
The Wynding, first right after Bamburgh Castle travelling north;
Druridge Bay - good for waders;
Ross Links - totally unspoilt stretch of golden sands - north of Druridge Bay - a 20 min walk across the dunes.

Magical and memorable - enjoy yourselves!!!!!!!

Last edited by June Atkinson : Tuesday 18th July 2006 at 14:37. Reason: live links
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 17:11   #14
martin kitching
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyH
Tip, use Billy Shields they are more likley to get you onto Staple....not related to Billy.....Don't waste any time because the birding tours end July 31.
Another good reason to go out on one of Billy's boats is that the other boat operators don't have landing licences. There are other operators advertising 'photographic' trips but they don't actually land on the islands.

martin
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 17:30   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyH
I Don't waste any time because the birding tours end July 31st
This is incorrect, during the breeding season May 1st -July 31st landing is mornings only on Staple Island and afternoons only on Inner Farne, April, August and September the islands are open for landing all day.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 18:11   #16
hampers
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'The Wynding, first right after Bamburgh Castle travelling north' is excellent for seawatching, even benches to sit on!
Agree with the note about Billy Shiels. If you're not NT member its about 4.50 to land and the warden is waiting for the boat. Some good photographic opportunities whilst looking at the seals.
Don't forget the hat, they terns can cause blood loss!
I'm planning a Staple Island tripo for Monday, in spite of the 200 mile drive from home it so good.

Phil
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Old Sunday 30th July 2006, 16:45   #17
mickporter
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I have just returned from my trip. It was absolutly fabulous!!

I visited the islands twice. First a full day trip on the two islands. On Staples Island, the Razorbills and Gillimots were still there. Thousands of puffins all carrying sand eels, busy feeding young. Hundreds of Shags, kittiwakes and some fulmars (not as many as I expected there!)

On Inner Farne mainly terns with a few puffins. Sandwich, Common and Artic terns in their hundreds all feeding young. One pair of Roseate terns, nest marked and easily visible feeding young.

Just before I went someone lent me Bill Oddie's video of his trip to the Farne Islands. I just thought he would have special access to places us mere mortals did not have, but he did not, the birds are right under your feet and you really have to watch were you walk, especially on Inner Farne with young terns hopping around!! Puffins are right in front of your eyes!!!

Someone commented about it being conveyor belt birding!! It was certainly like that. The islands are very small and you are sharing them with sightseers and none birders. You definatly do not need a scope unless you are see watching and that would probably be better done from the shore. You do not even need Binns!! The birds are literally sitting under your feet!!

I took my none birding wife on my second trip. I was worried she may have trouble leaving the boat and getting onto the island, but the sea's were so calm that was easy.... it was the smell she complained of!!! It smells like a thousand children have wet their beds!! What look like white chalk cliffs are black rock covered in bird cra#. Hehehe. However even she said she would not have missed it for the world!!!

Getting to the Islands takes you past rocks covered in seals. I have seen lots of seals previously but never from so close!!

I certainly would urge anyone to make that trip to Seahouses, probably now best waiting till next year, but you will not regret the visit. Ensure you take your cameras. No need for digiscoping here!!!!
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