Tuesday 14 June 2016


I visited the Farne Islands a couple of years ago and although I had a great time the photographs were not as good as I expected. So, a return visit was in order. When I planned my trip way back in January I had no idea that BBC Springwatch would be doing programmes on the islands. Consequently there has been a bit of a bounce factor and numbers for the boat trips have rocketed. The National Trust and the boat operators must be rubbing their hands with glee. Couple high demand with poor weather and that meant a backlog of visitors had built up. Persistent rain meant that the NT had closed the islands for a few days, I heard people saying that a bit of rain wouldn't put them off  - as I understand it, the NT close the islands because visitor disturbance is inevitable and birds vacate their nests leaving their eggs and chicks open to the elements - risking chilling.

 I had booked before going north and I was on the all day birding trip leaving at 0930, not only that, as we reached Staple Island the sea fret or haar cleared and we even saw the sun on occasion. On Staple I only wanted to capture Puffins so with two hours to spend I hunkered down next to some obliging birds and filled my boots as they say.

There is always a reception committee

Never sure who is watching whom

Having satisfied my requirements for posing birds I had some spare time to attempt some in flight shots - not entirely successful as the light was a bit on the low side. Probably means that I will have to go again - what a shame!.

Of course predation is rife and top of the food chain is the Lesser Black-backed Gull. Not only are they constantly nest raiding but they also chase the Puffins making them give up their hard won Sand Eels.

Waiting patiently for an incoming Puffin

Herring Gull nest provided a snack
Eider Duck nest just two feet from the predated Herring Gull nest

Couldn't resist snapping this parent and youngster - guess "Shaggy" would be an apt name.

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