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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

My Trip To - The Farne Islands .... (1 Viewer)

rjmartin

Well-known member
Hey Everyone :)

I want to tell you about my trip to the Farne Islands in Northumberland this week. For the last two years in a row I have visited Skomer Island in Wales during the month of June to see the seabird colony. Last June on arrival home from Skomer I set myself the target of trying somewhere new this year and that place was to be .... the Farne Islands.

The trip was booked back at the start of the year and on Monday the 16th we headed up to Northumberland, via East Yorkshire! A bit of a detour but the plan was to stop off at Bempton Cliffs along the way.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/cae14c334631096

Above: Bempton Cliffs.

On arrival at Bempton Cliffs on Monday morning we headed straight down to the cliff tops. The first birds that we saw were the mighty Gannets. They are Britain's largest seabird and boy do they stand out when they are in flight. At Bempton you really get great views of these birds and it was a great way to start the trip.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/1b0fba334631089

Above: Three of the star species at Bempton, Puffin - Gannet - Tree Sparrow.

The next bird spotted was the Puffin! My favourite (and I'm sure many other peoples favourites too) seabird, the numbers seemed quite good this year and there were quite a few out and about on the cliff edges. Plenty of Kittiwakes about too, very noisy birds and I can certainly see how they got their name with that familiar call.

Other birds seen at Bempton included the Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar and I think the only one that we didn't see here was the Shag. We also briefly stopped off at Flamborough Head where again we saw Puffin & others.

We then preceded on our trip up to Northumberland, my friend had a good old drive ahead!

On Tuesday we visited Lindisfarne Nature Reserve not far from where we were staying. This reserve is renowned for it's wading birds in the Autumn / Winter but there were a few nice birds out & about during our visit too ....

First up was the Eider Duck, I had not seen one in the wild before and to see three females sitting out on the shore was a nice start. Also seen at Lindisfarne was a Whooper Swan (I saw a Swan & assumed it was a Mute, good job I checked with the binoculars!) - I assumed they had all long gone. If anyone has any ideas on that one, please do let me know.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/5e8b04334631099

Above: Whooper Swan at Lindisfarne Nature Reserve.

More Eider Ducks were seen later into the afternoon / evening including several females with ducklings.

Other things seen here include my first Grey Partridge in the wild (two in the farmland) & a rather strange substance called Cuckoo Spit, I will let you Google that one!

http://www.imagebam.com/image/3df4b3334631086

Above: Cuckoo Spit.

Wednesday was the day for me, we were off to the Farne Islands. We arrived down at the harbour at Seahouses for just after 9am and bought our tickets. The boat set sail at around 9.30am. The sea was a little choppy in places which made the journey a little interesting, I have never made a good sailor and I was glad that I had not had any breakfast, only water!

http://www.imagebam.com/image/e8c129334631106

Above: Guillemot galore on the Farne Islands.

We arrived on the first island, Staple Island at around 10am. We then preceded to spend the next two hours here watching the Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills etc at very close quarters. I made sure I took some photos & got some videos.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/63c649334631090

Above: Puffin on the Farnes.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/6d154a334631108

Above: And another!

Back on to the boat at around 12pm and we then had a 1 1/2 hour spell in which to travel on the boat around the islands to see the cliff nesting birds from beneath and also to get closer than I have ever got before to the Atlantic Grey Seals! An amazing experience, one that I recommend to all.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/dcb80b334631092

Above: Grey Seal on the rocks at the Farnes.

Inner Farne was our next stop at 1.30pm and upon landing on the island we were immediately greeted by the Arctic Terns. It is a greeting that I shall never forget (haha)

The birds are very close to the paths - and even sometimes on the path - and so naturally have nests to defend. Whenever you walk through the area you are impeeding on their territory and it is only natural that they will look to defend their space. They fly at you and give you a good peck on the head and I also got caught on the hand. All part of the fun, I enjoyed the experience!

After just over a couple of hours on the island we boarded the boat again headed for the mainland. The skipper took us for one last circle around the island which was nice and I once again marvelled at this incredible place.

Back on land we visited Druridge Pools to see the Spoonbill there (I've only seen them at Arne in Dorset previously) and then Cresswell Pond to see the Avocets.

Thursday saw us go for a cruise around the Farne Islands once more - this time with no landing - we got even better views of the Seals (plus there were more hauled out of the water) - and as it was a bigger boat with more room it made photography easier.

Back on land we headed to Long Nanny to see the Little Tern colony, we walked the coastal path for a good two miles each way taking in the scenery & the sea air. We viewed the Little Terns (another new species for me) through the telescopes before starting our walk back to the car.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/a44ed9334631088

Above: Arctic Tern at Long Nanny.

On the way back to our accomodation we visited Holy Island where we went to the observatory overlooking the coast. A really nice place to spend a short while.

Holy Island gets cut off from the mainland twice a day due to the sea covering the road that serves the island. Luckily we made it back just in time!

http://www.imagebam.com/image/530fd3334631102

Above: Holy Island cut off by the sea.

Friday we headed back to the Midlands, a fantastic trip, well worth the long journey and I hope to visit again someday!
If you haven't been to the Farnes, definitely consider it, it's something I really recommend.

Next year, with all good intentions, the plan is to visit the Shetland Isles for the first time.

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=U5P44oHsrlA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hsN0IIdB_mc

I took hundreds of photos and plenty of videos, far too many to post here, but I hope the above gives you a small insight :)

Thanks for reading :)

Rob

Stand Out Species - Seen Over The Week:

Birds:

Arctic Tern, Avocet, Common Eider, Common Tern, Cormorant, Fulmar, Gannet, Grey Partridge, Guillemot, Herring Gull, Kitiwake, Little Tern, Puffin, Razorbill, Rock Pipit, Sandwich Tern, Shag, Shelduck, Skylark, Spoonbill, Tree Sparrow, Whitethroat, Whooper Swan, Yellow Wagtail

Mammals:

Grey Seal
 
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SueO

Well-known member
So exotic for us in the hot, dry areas of the world. I would love to see a puffin. Hopefully I can accomplish that before I kick the bucket! Great photos--the puffins just seem unreal to me. What an amazing little planet we have.
Sue
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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