Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Up North

18th June

After a few days around the local patch seeing the usual shelduck, cuckoo, 2 gadwall, cetti's etc. I visited my brother for a few days conveniently close to the Farne Isles. The journey up the A1 produced plenty of buzzards and a count of 8 red kites which fizzled out as we approached Lincolnshire.  I booked  a two and a half hour trip from Seahouses out to Staple Island although there was plenty of room and booking was not really required (they didn't run to Inner Farnes that morning). 

Seahouses Harbour from the pub where we had lunch

Eiders in the harbour

Approaching Inner Farne - boats hold up to 70 people

Motored around stopping at the common seal colony for photography

Arctic Terns flying around us tempting photography

Masses of guillemots plus shags and a few razorbills

 You had to be quick to catch puffins from the boat as they dived on approach

Most of the guillemots seemed to be loitering and not on eggs

Taken from the boat - lucky the sea was calm 

Visitors on Staple Island

On Staple Island, manned by several young National Trust wardens 

The puffin breeding area - holes everywhere

 Lesser black-backed gulls patrolled the puffin breeding area and tried to attack the puffins as they flew in with a beak full of sand eels

This one made it without being robbed

Razorbills were nowhere as abundant as guillemots

Shags were well advanced with their breeding, this one was being targeted by three wardens to have a radio tracker fitted. It was growling and swearing at them, all the time most unhappy, when we returned after doing our circuit they were still there, the bird still unhappy which I suggested but they said no, it was fine! They were ready with a noose on the end of a pole, no doubt to go around its neck!

 Kittiwakes were plentyfull

Can't resist the puffins

 On our return to the harbour we did a circuit around Inner Farne after an hour on Staple - the Arctic terns breed here but not on Staple.

A few shots from the boat - light changes rapidly the razorbill here was taken at ISO 6400 as I had it set on auto.

Whilst I was visiting the area it was clear that swallows were in considerable more numbers than in Kent and kestrels were quite common along the roadsides. Off course roads  were much better all over, mainly new dual carriageways, no tiny lanes plus facilities were new and numerous eg. a brand new hospital just opened close to where I was staying. It is quite clear there is a north south divide and we are on the wrong side of it plus they have more birds as well! 


Mike H said...

Cracking blog post Mike with some stunning shots to boot.

Warren Baker said...

Great post Mike, lots to admire there :-)

Kent does look a very poor and baron place for birds after coming back from other parts of the country!