A recent trip to visit Scotland gave me the opportunity to stop off at Seahouses in Northumbria and grab a quick ferry to the fantastic offshore Farne Islands. If you’ve had a hard time lately trying to get up close and personal with our feathered friends this place will inspire you.
Janet and I joined up with Billy Shiel’s all day birdwatch trip. We had missed the 9.30am start but the organisers kindly allowed us to catch up with them via a later trip. Normally the trip lasts for 6 hours with a two hour landing on both Staple Island and Inner Farne. We missed out on just one hour on Staple Island.
There are around 15-20 islands, dependent upon the state of the tide, making up this National Nature Reserve. They are 1 – 2 miles offshore so are relatively accessible. Although uninhabited they are owned by the National Trust who have many wardens on site during the breeding season.
On the way out to Staple Islands the boat cruise around the islands. There are 3-4,00 grey seals and the skipper allows plenty of time for everyone to get good views and plenty of photographs.
You need to be fairly nimble- footed on Staple Island as there are no real footpaths. Scampering across the rocks and crevices is the order of the day. The close-encounters of the bird life are astonishing.
The landing on Inner Farne is met by hundreds of irate Roseate terns frantically protecting their own territories around their chicks. A hat of some kind is essential as the terns can be quite determined to get their message across. They also will have a go at your ears given half a chance!
My 500mm lenses is something of an overkill and good photos can be obtained with a 100mm macro or even a mobile phone. I stuck with my 500mm however as I was keen to get a few head shots. Who doesn’t want to photograph a puffin with a beak full of sandeels?