Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Farnes

After being delayed we were relieved when the boat company said they were sailing so we headed down to the quay. We were booked onto the all day trip which meant we were landing on Staple in the morning then onto Inner Farne for the afternoon.

The trip over was a little choppy but we were fortunate to be sat on the 'right' side and stayed dry. First stop was a brief look at the grey seals hauled out on the rocks before moving to Staple.

The cliffs around were covered in breeding auks and the sea and skies were full of birds fishing and flying too and fro. The best thing was the views and such a good angle seeing them from the water. On landing on the island it was great to meet up with ex volunteer David and catch up on his recent adventures. Despite the island only being small, there was plenty to.fill the 3 hours we had.

We moved onto Inner Farne for the afternoon and despite being very close to Staple, the feel of the place was very different. Staple was very rocky with virtually no vegetation and doesn't have any breeding terns. Inner Farne is much bigger, but still small, and actually has soil so there is much more vegetation.

Before we even landed there were Arctic terns everywhere we could see the people from the boat before us being hammered by the terns as they walked onto the island.

Ed had said that the roseate terns had been hanging around the quay but one of the rangers said they hadn't been seen that day yet. We had a scan of the roosting terns but no sign.

I had heard that views of the terns were good but I hadn't quite realised they would be nesting by the path and in some cases even on the path! The views were immense and I'm sure I could have picked them up if I wanted to do. Everywhere you walked you had to careful not to step on them.

The birds had no fear of people and at the main viewpoint they were nesting right by the fence completely unconcerned by all the people taking their pictures.

We decided to walk back to the quay too check the terns when we bumped into Ed and Lana coming back from their day off. We were very lucky as they invited us into the tower where they stay and showed us the view over the island from the roof. It was a fantastic view and you really got an idea of the number of nesting terns.

Our time was starting to run out so we headed back to look for any roseate terns. Most of the birds were now facing us roosting but I did manage to pick out an adult bird asleep. It did wake up for a short while before the whole flock flushed and it couldn't be relocated. 5th tern sp of the weekend and a great way to finish.

I would highly recommend a visit if you get the chance.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Bamburgh by beach

Sadly the predicted strong winds did arrive today so it wasn't a complete surprise that the Farnes boats were cancelled.

We rejigged our plans and headed for Bamburgh and a look at the castle. The coast road wasn't that busy so we headed along the verge. It was very windy so birdlife was limited to singing reed buntings and meadow pipits.

Icecream outside the castle and a random half hour watching a croquet match. Really couldn't work out the rules.

We decided not to look round the castle but walk back along the beach. By now the wind was at its strongest and the blowing sand was horrendous but thankfully it was mainly at our backs.

Despite the tides being pretty high there was a surprise in the rock pools. One of the highest ones was freshwater, presumably rainwater, and was full of tadpoles!

Despite having hoods up and everything zipped up tightly, just about everywhere was full of sand!! Invigorating walk though :-)

Friday, 5 June 2015


Headed up to the Northumberland coast today for a trip out onto the Farnes over the weekend. Pretty easy journey up although all the A1 roadworks were a bit slow going. Red kite and a few kestrels were the only birds of note.

Weather was a bit murky on arrival but an increasing breeze cleared things up nicely.

Chilled afternoon of fish & chips followed by a walk around the local area. Great to see lots of eider families, nesting kittiwakes and a few sanderling.

Wind sounds a bit interesting tomorrow so fingers crossed!