As it was the kids holidays this week I was prepared with warm clothes for my long day's at sea, then I sat down to look at the forecast........Yes you guessed it...Strong Winds.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had our first real northerly winds since Easter last year. Yes we have had a few winds before that, but not strong enough to bring the birds down from the north. Well as you can tell we never got out to the Islands, but did on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
I saw a few Guillemots on Thursday and on Friday about a 1000 in the morning and then by the afternoon it was up to about 2000+.
They were flying in from the east by the bucket load so I was getting myself all excited. On Saturday morning the wind had picked up again but this time it was from the west so I thought I would give it a go and see what it was like. On the way out it was ok but by the time we had reached the Islands it was starting to blow a gale. As we arrived at the Islands there was rafts and rafts of Guillemots on the water and as we approached the Inner Farne there was thousands on the cliff faces. I also noticed a good few Kittiwakes, Fulmers, Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones and 4 Rock Pipits. There was a female Peregrine hunting the pigeons on the Wideopens and she was very successful as we watched her make her kill.
With the winds getting stronger and stronger we decided to stay at the inner islands and with the beautiful blue skies and seas picking up I think we made the right decision, as the Guillemots stole the show.
I get to see this every year and I'm still amazed by the sight. They are not settled yet and they might leave again as they tend to come and go for a bit until one day they decided to stay, but for the moment in time I just love them when they first arrive.
When they first arrive they are very nervous as the boat gets closer to them, but this gives you the perfect chance to get a great picture as they fly around in circles or over the boat and with the beautiful light today what more could I ask for.
I also noticed that the Guillemots are later this year than last and I wonder if all the breeding birds are going to be late in general. Who knows only time will tell, so for now here is a few pictures I got today.