Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mixed Week

It's been a very mixed week around the Farnes, with strong winds from the west, rough seas, calm seas, warm then freezing, it just can't make it's mind up at all and after the start to the season with the calm seas and sunshine its taking some getting use too. Staple Island is open now but once again there has hardly been any landings due to the weather. They did manage to get out a few times last week but that's it. I wished the jetty was a bit better and the island was more accessible and then it would be less of a worry for us to land there and it would let the people visiting enjoy another island instead of the Inner Farne all the time. I'm not knocking the Inner Farne as it's the best island but sometimes it's frustrating that you can't get landed on Staple and it must be worse for the guests trying to get landed too. Saying that the weather does not help and we could just do with a good spell now as we are due it. On the bird front everything is going to plan with all the seabirds now on eggs. We even spotted the Kittiwakes on eggs yesterday but lots are still building their nests and no where near ready to lay. It might just be one of those years for the Kittiwakes where they build their nests and nothing happens but I have said that before and its come back and bit me in the bum. Fingers crossed I'm wrong and they are just late at starting. The Rangers are really get stuck into the work this year and there seems to be a good camaraderie amongst them all, which is really nice to see. It's all new for some of them but they seem to be taking it in their stride and you feel really comfortable around them. To be honest it was always going to be hard after losing Steely but they have taken the bull by it's horns and they are enjoying the ride and long may it last too. Our beautiful Arctic Terns have now laid eggs in the court yard at the Inner Farne so if you are thinking of coming to the Farnes in the next few days don't forget your hats as they will be diving bombing and pecking you on the head. You have to love them but remember this their home and not are guests on their island. Enjoy them as they are wonderful seabirds and have a hard life. Until the next time I blog about my life around the Farnes enjoy your day and if you can't make it this year keep ready and I will updated you as much as possible. If your are coming to the Farnes this year then enjoy it as it's a wonderful place and it will be embedded in your minds for many years to come.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Poor Female Eider Duck

We were anchored at the Inner Farne the other day enjoying at hot cuppa and a lovely sandwich when myself and Andy (my crewman) noticed a few male Eider Ducks chasing a female. This is not unusual at this time of the year as most seabirds have already mated and are either on eggs or they are just about to lay eggs, but this poor female was not just being harassed she was nearly being gang raped. At first you just think typical man, horny as hell but after a while we felt really sorry for her. At first there was a few males and in the end there was 22 males all fighting over her. She just could not get away and she was not going to give in either. She swam away form them, she dived down to get away from them and she even got out of the water at one stage to get away. She must have been totally shattered as they would not give up at all. I know it's nature but sometimes nature can be so cruel it just not fair and if this was a human behaviour we would be sent to prison for a long time. I have to take my hat off to her as she was not going to give up easy and after an hour she was still fighting them off. We had to go and pick our guests up and as we left the Inner Farne they were still trying. I do hope that she did not quit and she told them all to bugger off but I know in my heart of hearts that would not have happened but boy she is a strong female and good for her. The pictures will tell you all

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Farnes Update 9/05/2015

Since my last post the weather can't seem to make its mind up. Glorious one minute and then freezing the next. Flat calm seas and then rough. I just want it to get settled now so we can enjoy good days on the water and our guests don't have to be wrapped up to the hilt.

We have had our first easterly winds of the year, which are not good for us at all, as it goes straight through the islands not even giving you a chance to get out of the harbour. It's bad for me but it must be awful for the birds too.
I know the birds are tough little cookies and just seem to get on with it but it must drive them nuts too. Fingers crossed the weather will improve and everything goes ok for the birds, but in the mean time here is a little update of what's happening.

All the birds are really settled now, with lots Guillemots on eggs and the Kittiwakes have also joined in the fun.
A pair of Mallards have now had 9 ducklings and I have also been informed that the Shags have been spotted with chicks too, boy its all starting to kick off now.
No news on the Puffins yet but with all this rain we have had lately it will not be good news for them. They have been cleaning their burrows and then the rain floods the burrows and they have to start all over again. Fingers crossed it not as bad a I'm painting it.
The Arctic Terns are back in big numbers now but they are not starting to peck just yet so don't worry. The Sandwich Terns has been mating and it will not before they are on eggs too.

Its all change on the islands this year and so far its been really good with some really nice rangers and some old faces too. The guys have now moved into Brownsman cottage as Staple Island is now open but once again the weather has stopped most landings and so far its only been open one day. The National Trust have 12 rangers split between two islands and so far everything has worked really well, so long may it last and onwards and upwards.

Other than that things are going well, but as I say we need the weather to improve so I can get out, our guests can get a chance to enjoy it and the seabirds get a break from this dreadful weather.



The Children's Friend on the rocks at the Wide Opens and it was built by a local man. If you look carefully you can see two rabbits on the boat.


Guillemot taking good care of its egg.

 
Arctic Terns starting to pair off 


Sandwich Terns displaying with each other.

 
Another pair of Sandwich Terns

 
Merganser flew straight in front of the boat.  

 
Staple Island full of Guillemots


The lads are back in Brownman cottage now.  

 
The gulls are always looking for an easy meal.


This Razorbill flew around the boat about four times for some reason and if was not for my phone ringing I would have had a few more pictures.


The Farnes is a very special place and every day we see something different. Boy do I love my job.






Friday, 1 May 2015

Puffin Power

Well its been a little while since I last updated you on what's happening around the Farnes so I thought I best get myself sorted out and let you all know.

As you can see by the title its just about the Puffins in this blog and the next blog I will update you on everything else that been happening.

Well as you can gather they are back and they seem to be very settled now. We have seen lots of mating going on and witnessed them cleaning and tidying their burrows ready for their eggs to be lied. There should be some puffins on eggs now but I have never had the confirmation yet but I don't suppose that will be long.

It happens every year and I should not be surprised, but when our guests see a puffin for the first time we get mixed comments like......

They are smaller than I thought...
They are really not built to fly are they....
Lots of dams from the photographers miss that perfect shot.... (that's being a bit polite)
A good few giggles as we tell them about their nickname (Tommy Noddy)

But most of all,  lots of AHHH'S and OOOOOH'S.... which always puts a smile on my face.

I have had a good few other comments but I will keep them to myself and that's the way it should be as I just love them too.

Here is a few pictures to wet your appetite if you are coming this year.









 



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....