Farne Islands - June 2011

"Rocky islands, once home to saints, soldiers and famous lighthouse keepers, now a sanctuary for seabirds and seals" is what the UK National Trust says about the Farne Islands, on their website. Situated on the east coast of Northumberland, almost at the Scottish border, the Farnes are small but exceedingly interesting. We went there for a week, on a trip organized and led by Han Bouwmeester. Weather conditions were variable, as one would expect in northern England, but there was some good light every day and birds were plentiful. We came prepared to see Puffins, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns, Guillemots and Shags, but the numbers astounded us. The Farnes are breeding colonies and the birds did not seem to be very shy - though the Arctic Terns were more easily disturbed and then became very aggressive. The National Trust wardens, who kept everyone on the paths and outside the nesting areas, suffered though all this with a smile and with their hats covered with white droppings.
One day, when conditions were very rainy and foggy, we took a trip across the border to Scotland to find Grouse and a young Curlew.

Weather and sea conditions did not permit a planned trip to Bass Rock, home to a very large colony of Gannets. We did see them , flying low in formation over the sea, but they were too far away for us to take pictures. We may be back one day to try again.

All in all a very enjoyable and successfull trip, skilfully led by Han.

Arctic Tern
Razorbills and Guillemots
Sandwich Tern
Red Grouse