Monday, 23 June 2008

The Puffin run

We had a fantastic day on the Farne Islands on Saturday, the outward journey was quite calm, and we were able to get some lovely views of the basking seals. Our skipper was brilliant and brought us in really close to them, even making sure that he turned the boat around so both sides got a good view.

We landed on Staple Island at about 11.0 and had two hours before the boat came to pick us up. The puffin’s nest in burrows that they’ve appropriated from the local rabbit population, I’m not sure what the poor old rabbits do for a home in the meantime.

Of course the puffins were not the only inhabitants of the island and as you can see from this pic the Guillemots shared their home, but in a much more precarious habitat.

I also spotted this pair of Kittiwakes doing some pair bonding, which of course I didn’t know until I asked my OH later what they were up to.

These two characters are Shags and it looks like the one on the right certainly had an issue with the other one, judging by the evil look it was giving it! I took this from the boat so there’s quite a bit of camera shake, but I liked the pose.

We passed this cottage on our journey to the Inner Farne island on the tour and our skipper explained that the building on the left used to be a beacon that was lit every night to warn ships of the danger of coming too close to the islands. I think this was succeeded in the late 1800’s by the Loongstone lighthouse (on Longstone island) in the next pic as so many lives were still lost using the beacon. I really wished I’d taken notes on the skipper’s talk as I‘ve forgotten a lot of it

Longstone lighthouse

By the afternoon the weather had deteriorated to squally showers, so I gave up on the photography and just observed the birds on Inner Farne island, and tried not to get attacked by them as they protected their babies against the flow of the public visitors.

Inner Farne

The islands are managed by the National Trust and strict visiting times are adhered to, but I still felt as if I was intruding into the bird’s territory and disturbing their daily round of feeding and caring for their young, especially as many babies were almost on the boardwalks.

The trip back to the main land was very choppy and the skipper had to use all his skill to get us back without too much bouncing around and spray soaking his passengers.

We were very glad of a cuppa and a piece of cake on our return, not to mention a change of clothing, but it was a very good trip for my OH who’s got some great shots from the day.


Karen Hall said...

How great. Glad you had such a good day
I love puffins

Doreen G said...

Fantastic photos Sharon

Sue Smith said...

What an amazing adventure! The puffins are absolutely gorgeous. These photographs are incredible... it's makes me feel like escaping the real world for a bit and going on an adventure to... we can all dream! Mind you, I'd be certain to be sea sick :(

Shirley Anne Sherris said...

Glad the weather held out for you. We wondered if it would be good enough for the trip. You managed some good shots -look forward to seeing Mike's photos -not being disloyal but you know what I mean.
I take it that you are on the landing again????

Jacquelines blog said...

What a great pictures Sharon!!!

Aussie Jo said...

Wonderful reading about your island trip and looking at the fascinating photos, the islands are certainly well populated. We are thinking of heading to Phillip Island in September so I'll post photos of the seals and fairy penguins(if I can get close enough). The puffins are extraordinary.

sandra wyman said...

Oooh one of may favourite places (am planning to move to Northumberland/Borders region next year if all goes well). This made me feel sort of "homesick". And those arctic terns may be only protecting their young but they can get sooo vicious - hope you took a hat!

Julie said...

Amazing photos Sharon! The puffin pics are beautiful. What a fantastic experience for you both.

Anonymous said...

been back to view your pics again they are very good - you did a good bit of travelling to up in Northumberland - your shag shots are particularly good for such a dark bird to photograph, you got the eye which I did not in most shag shots! The puffin shots are good and I enjoyed the others of your visit to that area and of course the intro which is most interesting - although I knew most of it you have put it very well