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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Farne Islands (Part three)

Bird numbers on the islands

Mind you`re head!

Arctic Tern, long distance migrant.

Kittiwake and chicks.

No shortage of food for the youngsters!


Brooding Shag!
After leaving Staple island, we headed for the next port of call which was Inner Farne.This island is noted for its breeding colonies of Arctic and Sandwich Terns, which as we were to find out, were very aggresive to anyone that ventured too near to their nests.They were literally everywhere,sitting on eggs and feeding youngsters.You really did have to tread carefully along the winding footpaths that led around the island.It was imperative that you wore some kind of hat as the terns would swoop down on you,some landing on your head.One unfortunate gentleman got a nasty peck and his wife was hastily trying to stem the flow of blood running down his balding head.

Again Puffins were evident all along the bankings,continually coming in off the sea with beakfulls of Sandeels,this time they were left in peace as the gulls didn`t seem to bother them.Further towards the edge of the islands on the cliff faces,Kittiwakes were busy tending to their offspring,precariously balanced on the many ledges.They were in competition with Razorbills and Shags that also needed room to bring up their offspring,but somehow they all managed to squeeze into the tiniest of places.I didn`t realise how strikingly beautifull Shags were, with their amazing green eyes and gorgeous greeny black plummage.It`s only when your`re up close to them that you can appreciate their true colours. I think being so close to all these breeding birds and watching them in their true environment was a real education and an unforgetable experience,one that I will surely remember for years to come.For any bird enthusiast or photographer it is a `must visit place`with June being the best time to visit.I hope you`ve enjoyed reading about my trip to the Farnes as much as I did visiting there,what a wonderfull place!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Farnes (part two)

Grey Seals adorned the rocky outcrops!
Puffins welcomed you in.

Marauding Gulls waiting for a free meal!

Puffin nearto its burrow amongst vegitation.

Beaks laden with Sandeels.

Puffin at rest

Having departed Seahouses harbour, we made the short journey across to the nearest of the islands, Staple island.Puffins Guillemots and Grey seals were immediately encountered on our approach.The seals adorned the little clusters of rocks which were dotted around the main island.The skipper of the boat gave us all plenty of time to phtograph the seals on our way in.
One of the things that struck me the most as we docked,was the tremendous, nearly overpowering smell coming from the rocks, it was of course the droppings from the thousands of sea birds that festooned the cliff faces.
The sight of all these birds at such close quarters was amazing and I couldn`t wait to get amongst them with the camera,no big lenses needed here I`m afraid,and I was happy to click away with the 75-300mm zoom to my hearts content.
Where the Puffins colonised the bankings, numerous gulls awaited their return in anticipation of a free meal.The Puffins with beakfulls of sandeels, knew the script and would fly in at some speed to avoid the powefull beaks of the Herring gulls.it was comical to watch the little Puffin crash land then sprint to their nest burrows.I enjoyed wandering around the various birds trying to get flight shots and real close ups of Shags with their beautiful green eyes,sat contentidly on their nests.It was as if you were on one of those nature programmes with David Attenborough alongside you.The birds were totally oblivious to your prescence!We left Staple island after a stay of some 2+ hours and headed then for the next island, Inner Farne,of which I`ll tell you about in my next blog.