Watch the birdies (and the seals)

872bThe Farne Islands are a group of small islands off the coast of Northumberland that number 15 at high tide and more then 20 at low tide. They are home to one of the most important colonies of nesting seabirds in the UK.

In fact, it is thought that the earliest laws protecting birds were issued here by St Cuthbert in the year 676 to protect the eider ducks and other nesting birds.

It is an amazing place and one of the highlights of our recent holiday.

We took the boat out from Seahouses and sailed round islands called things like the East and West Wideopens, the North and South Warmses and Big Harcar before landing on Staple Island where there were puffins galore and plenty of guillemots, black headed terns, shags and razorbills willing to pose for a photo or two.

We sailed through tall rocky outcrops where thousands of sea birds nested in the crags. The noise was impressive, the smell was something else :)

They were sitting targets for us snappers while they were on the nest, but they proved particularly difficult to photograph in flight though, as you can probably see from my pictures. I have hundreds of photographs by the way, it was very hard to resist snapping away like a lunatic.

A total of 290 bird species have been recorded on the Farnes and May to July is breeding season and there are thousands of them. The guide advised you wore a hat!

I fell in love with the puffins. They look so sad with their strange shaped eyes and, when they fly, their wings flap ten to the dozen to keep them airborne. But these quirky birds spend eight months of the year on the wing apparently, so their frantic flapping must work.

We also saw a couple of large colonies of seals. And they seemed just as curious about us as we were about them.

814The islands are now owned by the National Trust. Oh how I would love to be a ranger on one of them.

This part of the UK coastline is amazing and I can’t wait to go back sometime.

 

 

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4 comments
  1. Amazing post……I want to go now :)

  2. What beautiful photos of a truly beautiful place, you captured it perfectly.
    Wasn’t St Cuthbert modern thinking for his time :-)

    • Thank you and, yes, he certainly was. Just shows it only takes one person to start making changes :)

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