Thursday, 23 April 2015

Fantastic Farnes

Boy oh boy the weather has been just amazing over the last few days and if it stayed like this all summer the country would do ok as there would be no need to go abroad.

I have hardly had to touch the wheel on the boat this week as its been that clam the boat has steered itself. Say that it is a catamaran so that helps a lot. I have been floating on air a little after the blog awards and I have even been in local papers today and did a short interview on  Radio Newcastle which was unbelievable.

The response has been lovely and once again I thank everyone who voted for me.

We all know what the Farnes is all about and if you don't then you have to come and see it for yourself as it will blow you away.

The weather has been outstanding for this time of the year, hardly a drop of wind the noise level from the birds seems to have been raised a level or two. The hustle and bustle amongst the birds is the best kind compared to that of London traffic a week ago and I would not have it any over way. I'm not saying I don't like city's but when you breath in the fresh air from the countryside it makes you feel alive. Saying that, unless its really hot and the stink from the bird poo can make your stomach churn but its not for long.

The birds are doing really well and we have lots of Guillemots on eggs now and we also noticed a pair of Razorbills on eggs too. The Shags have also started but they are always first to lay.

We have seen lots of Puffins mating and they disappeared for a few days through the week but today they came back in their thousands and I think that will be them here now until the end of the breeding season.

It's really starting to get exciting now and a few more Artic Terns have been spotted roosting with the Sandwich Terns over the last few days which is always good to see. The Sandwich Terns are now up to 450 and the Farnes broke a record the other day with the first Little Tern arriving some 8 days earlier than the previous record in 2011.

The seals have also been enjoying the sunshine and who can blame them. You have to enjoy it while it lasts as you never know what the next day will bring.

Anyway here is a few pictures of the fantastic farnes over the last few days.


Do you mind I'm trying to sunbath here....


Angel of the (farnes) North


A wee bit busy here today.


Sandwich Terns looking good


Bridled Guillemot showing off its catch


and again...


view from my office window....its a hard life


A bit of blue on blue

          
Inner Farne

 
Puffinfantastic

 
Boy its hot today. I might take a dip to cool off.


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

 
Yep I'm back...

 
this is my best side


I'm looking good today


Guillemots on eggs


Ha Ha my nest is bigger than yours....

 
come back here when I'm talking to you...

 
I'm not going to let this water spoil my sunbathing...Me neither.....or me.


The Waltons....

Monday, 20 April 2015

UK Blog Awards 2015

After the seeing Mega Aurora the other night I had to calm down a little and get my bags packed and drive down the London for the UK Blog Awards.

Yep little old me in the UK Blog Awards.

As I drove to London through the endless road works I eventually arrived at Mount Arch at 5pm and found a parking place right outside the hotel. How lucky was that, and I was even more lucky to find out that it only cost me £5 to park there too. Free after 6.30pm and this is in London.

I had a quick chat with the doorman of the hotel and he directed me to the bar as I had 2 hours to kill before the awards began.

I thought my luck would run out eventually as I had a half a coke at the bar and it was nearly £7. Oh well you cant win them all.

Time was getting on and I needed to get changed into my suit. I asked the doorman where the toilets were and he told me not to be silly and I should go down stairs to the spa, where I would be able to get a shower. I was off in a flash and down stairs to the most beautiful spa ever, and got myself all dressed up and ready to go.

As I arrived at the awards, which was only next door I was greeted like some kind of celebrity and the place was buzzing with bloggers everywhere.

I felt a little bit weird being around all these professional bloggers who's blogs were out of this world but I thought to hell with it I'm chuffed to be here so I was going to enjoy it.

After talking to a few people with a glass of orange in my hand the awards were just about to be announced.

We all made our way to our seats and the ceremony began.

Award after award was being handed out it finally came to my category, "Travel"

A little nervous, and the winner was announced but unfortunally it was not me. I did manage to get into the top 10 which is something amazing to achieve, and something I am very proud off.  

I'm not a professional blogger, but I do love my job, taking pictures and I'm not the best writer in the world, but that does not matter as I really enjoy doing it and the way I look at it, it's a dairy for my kids to read, so they can see what I did when they get older.

Anyway I'm still chuffed to bits and to get into the top 10 in the UK is something I never thought I would achieve. Thanks to everyone who voted for you me to be there in the first place.















   

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mega Aurora

After the previous night on the beach watching the aurora I never thought we would get it again, but a look at the forecast and clear skies predicted I had to give it another go.

I was getting myself sorted before I headed out when I got a text of Gary to say that he was down at Dunstanburgh and did I want to join him. I was not sure if I wanted to go there and knowing my luck I would drive there and it would be over.

I decided to give it a miss and head back to the beach.

On arriving at the beach there was a party happening so I decided to go to Stag Rock. I'm not really keen on going there to be honest as it gets really busy and there has been loads of pictures from there over the years but I stuck to my guns and when I arrived I was the only person there.

After a few test shots it looked good to go, and there was a slight green glow too.

A few minutes later it was turning a bit pink and I received a call from Gary asking if it was ok up there as he had thick clouds. After a quick chat he joined me.

Another couple of local lads turned up and then all of a sudden it kicked off big time.

The buzz was just tremendous and we were all clicking away like mad but at one point I had to just stand back and watch. What a sight and this has to be the best I have ever seen.

After about 20 minutes of mind blowing activity it started to fade and my lens started to fog up as the mist started to roll in.

At about 1.30am I decided to head home as I had to be up in the morning and get myself ready for a long drive to London and back again for the finals of the Blog Awards.

Here is some fabulous pictures of a wonderful evening.






  

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Aurora

Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights graced Northumberland again and it was beautiful sight to witness, especially over the Farne Islands.

Not a lot to say really but I think the pictures will tell you all.




Wednesday, 15 April 2015

First Artic Tern of the year 2015

The first Artic Tern has now arrived at the Farnes, so it will not be long before they are all back and then the fun begins.

The Artic Tern is one hell of a seabird and it will not be long before they start dive bombing and pecking all you lovely visitor's on the head.

This will be not be for a while just yet but over the years I have seen some funny sights and some not so funny, and you have to remember that we are invading their home and not the other way around like some people think.

I've seen grown men in tears because they have been pecked on their heads so hard that the terns have drawn blood, but this can all be avoided if you remember to either wear a hat or just gently wave your hand above your head.

I would also like to point out that when I say wear a hat I don't mean a hard hat, motorbike helmet or a bicycle helmet because when they do dive bomb you,and they hit their bills on your hard hats it will break their bills and if this happens they will not survive.

Other than that there is only a small area as you arrive on the Inner Farne where this happens and once you are past this area you are fine.

Please Please don't let this put you off these wonderful seabirds and they just amazing to see. We call them the Artic Angels and when you see them you will understand why.

Take a look at this You Tube video below and you will understand a little bit more about them and see what they have to go through every year and this is why they are one hell of a seabird.


 

 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Turtle Rescue (Cape Verde)

I know I have done a few posts lately about Cape Verde and I promise this will be the last one for a while but I thought this post was really important to do.

A really good friend of mine gave me a text one day while I was in Cape Verde to say that they had rescued a Loggerhead Turtle and they had it in a tank keeping it alive until they could figure out the best way to save it.

It was tangled in fishing line and the first thing to do was to get this line off. Next they put it into a fresh water tank to kill of the parasites as they don't like fresh water and the vet was coming to check the turtle over.

The vet did not really have much hope for the turtle as its flipper was really swollen and lost a lot of its scales. She decided to give it an injection to see it would bring down the swelling but she did not hold much hope.

A few days later the swelling had gone down loads and it seemed to be in fine form. The vet was very optimistic that 80cm loggerhead would make it.

I also found out that it should be its feeding grounds now of the west coast of Africa now but hopefully it will be okay and be able to catch up with the rest of them.

Sal itself has a good turtle population and it is very well looked after too. The locals used to eat them all the time but now the realise how important they are to the world as well as Cape Verde, so the numbers over the past few years have increased by 75% which is great news.

Anyway, after a good few days in the tank they said it would be okay to realise the turtle back into the wild and hopefully it will catch up with the rest of them.

Here is some pictures of all the work that they did and a big thank you to Linda for texting me so I could see this wonderful creature and of course to all the work the guys did to make it better.


Taking the rope off


Its flipper all swollen


The vet doing her stuff


What a creature


In the van to the pier


On the boat and out to sea to be realised back into the wild


GoPro footage of it swimming away. What a result.


Some good things do happen in this world



Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Farnes Update

Its been a good Easter so far but Bank Holiday Monday was glorious on the mainland but at the Farnes it was thick fog. We still managed to get out and you could see everything when you were there, but boy it was cold.

Sunday was beautiful weather and Tuesday/Wednesday was not bad either and so far the rest of the week looks good as well.

On the seabird front they are still not settled just yet but it will not be long now. The cliff faces have been full of Guillemots on day and then the next they have been empty. Its the same for the Puffins too. You see rafts of them on the water and the islands have been full of them but two minutes later they are gone again. I did see a few Puffins mating on the water the other day so it will not be long before the are settled and the Farnes will be buzzing again.

The Kittiwakes are getting settled and busy building their nests and the Shags on the Inner Farne, Staple Island and Brownsman Island are sitting on eggs, which is great news.

The Shags do look good at this time of the year with their crest on top of their heads and the beautiful green plumage shining in the spring sunshine.

The seals are enjoying the sunshine too, as they bask on the rocks and every now and then they give you a glance as if to say "go away and let me sunbath in peace" They do put a smile on your face at times.

We noticed there is still a few Purple Sandpipers hanging around and lots of Rock Pipits too. I did notice a Meadow Pipit the other morning on Staple Island which was really nice to see.

There has also been two Med Gulls on the Inner Farne and in the Kettle (a safe haven beside the inner farne) there has been some Sandwich Terns returning which is great to see. The Artic Terns have not returned yet so you don't have to worry about being attacked when you arrive to land on the Inner Farne for now.

We have also had the Bottlenose Dolphins back again. Six were spotted just south of Seahouses on Monday by a local fisherman but we would have never seen them due to the fog. Never mind we will see them sometime I suppose.

Over all it's all starting to kick off around the Farnes and all the new Rangers have settled in really well to life on the Farnes.
 
This seal found the perfect rock for sunbathing
 

Plumage of the Shag
 

Purple Sandpiper

 
Kittiwake 


Sandwich Tern feeding

 
Female Peregrine on Brownsman Tower (in the fog)
 
 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Cape Verde Shearwater

While I was in Cape Verde at the end of March this year I decided on another boat trip in the hope of seeing some whales or dolphins but it was never the outcome.

What I did see was a few shearwaters flying past the boat and I asked the skipper if he could change his course and try and follow the same track as the shearwaters. He kindly did and as we got a little further away we saw a few more and they seemed to be feeding.

As we got closer and closer we did not just see a few but lots and lots. A quick guess, I would say there was about 100 birds in total.

What a sight and even the skipper was a happy fella and even commented that he had never seen as many. Happy Days.

There was even a Brown Booby having a look to see what all the fuss was about.

I was a wee bit excited to be honest (not like me) and they are beautiful seabirds too.

Later in the trip we saw two fisherman in their boat with two shearwaters beside them and they did not have a care in the world about these birds. I suppose its a bit like me with the Puffins as you see them all the time so it becomes the norm... No not really, they just did not care at all and why would they be, as they are just trying to make a living at fishing.