Sunday, 30 January 2011

Fantastic January Day

The morning may have been cold but it was more than compensated for by the winter sunshine and the incredible array of wildlife around the islands. With calm seas and the attention of many birds increasingly turning to looking their best for the coming breeding season we had some superb views of some of the many species that breed on The Farnes. Even before leaving the harbour small parties of Common Eider, the males displaying by throwing back their heads and doing a bit of a body flip were resplendent in black and white, with subtle greens and pinks.
It was hard to take your eyes off the beauty of the Northumberland coastline as we sailed out to The Farnes this morning. Bamburgh Castle was resplendent in the morning light just behind the long sandy beach stretching north from Seahouses, with the snow-dusted Cheviots providing the perfect backdrop as streams of Guillemots moved past.

The Guillemot numbers were simply spectacular this morning, measured in the tens of thousands providing an impressive assembly as they stood on the rocky outcrops and ledges that will see them raise the next generation in the coming months.
The constant movements of individuals between land and sea and the steadiness of the twinned hull Serenity offered some great opportunities for flight photography today.

Whilst Guillemots dominated by sheer force of numbers, other birds around the islands included Fulmars, Shags, a single Razorbill, 2 Peregrines and a good count of over 50 roosting Purple Sandpipers. Some of the Shags were showing early signs of pairing off, displaying and even carrying nesting material.

As always though it's not just about the birds, January offers perhaps some of the best opportunities to view the Grey Seal colony that can call The Farnes home and they certainly didn't disappoint today with large numbers hauled out around the islands 'singing' as we got close.

The return trip back to Seahouses provided brief views of a small pod of Harbour Porpoises picked up by on-board wildlife guide Keith not too far from the front of the boat.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Spaces for this weekends winter trip

I have a few spaces left for this weekends Winter Trip. Come and join me on a 4 hour tour around Holy Island and surrounding areas. Please just call if your interested and i will give you a discount.
We hope to see Guillemot's, Golden eye, Teals, Seals, Turnstones and many more.
Call Andrew on 07894668093
Click on for more details on our winter trips.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Men at work

Chris, Martin and myself doing our jobs on the boats as we get closer to the start of the new season.
We have covered up the wheelhouse of the dive boat as we are going to fibre glass the whole lot and this will save alot of work during the winter. Yeah.... More birding for me during the winter months.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Guillemots have landed

Popped out to the islands today with a last minute booking and was amazed by the amount of Guillemots we saw and suprised that the birds were only on Staple Island and not any other of the islands. I know they go back to the same spot every year but why just Staple Island.
Never mind it was nice to see.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Guillemots Galore!

Over the last 2 days we have seen 5000 Guillemots each day at The Farne Islands. Its is a great sight to see but i still wonder if these birds are telling me something.
Its very early to be seeing these birds and i and noticed that a lot of the Geese are flying north again.
Is spring on the way? Who knows but to see all the birds is great.

Sunday, 2 January 2011


After a well rested holiday i returned home to the cold, burst pipes and instead of waking up in the morning and putting my flip flops on, it was the long johns. Never mind at least i was going out to the islands with a few customers.

I started the boats engine's, cleaned the decks and then manoeuvred the boat over to the slipway to pick up my passengers.

As we steamed out of the harbour towards the islands we were greeted by 12 Harbour Porpoise, 10 Long-tailed Ducks and 6 Fulmers.

As we cruised around the the islands passing 2 Little Auks, 21 Fulmers, 9 Turnstones and many more we headed back towards the Inner Farne.

To my amazement we saw over a 1000 Guillemots. Now i know they came to the islands quick last year but they did stay as long as they normally do, but this seems to be too quick.

The question i asked you is this a good sign or a bad one?

I know nature tells us alot of things but I'm not quite sure about this one. Is it because we have been having Northerly Winds lately?, or is the spring is on the way?, or is there just loads of food around the islands that has attracted them back.

Who knows, but whatever the answer is, it was a great sight to see.