Sunday, 19 February 2012

Guillies Galore

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.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Last 2 Weeks

I have been out around the Farne Islands every weekend for the last couple of weeks and to be honest it has been very quite.

Last weekend I did see over 100+ Guilliemots feeding on the water beside Staple Island and about 12 Razorbills also feeding at the south end of the Longstone Island, but this weekend I only saw about 4 Razorbills and about 3 Guilliemots.
The Fulmers are flying around the Islands and it's really nice to see them without all the other birds being there. I suppose it's a bit to early for all of the other birds to start arriving, but it won't be long before the Islands are buzzing again.
I'm saying it's a bit early but last year on the 14th January we had over 5000 Guillemots flying around Staple Island and the Inner Farne. Maybe there is enough food out in the North Sea this year and we have not had a really strong Northerly Wind since Easter last year. Yes we have had alot of strong Westerly Winds but that will not push the birds back in for us.
Oh well they will come when they are ready to come back.  

I will try my best to keep on blogging as much as possible now and hopefully it will keep you all up to date with what's happening around the Farne Islands.

January 2012 Friday 13th

I'm not really superstitious but I just hate Friday 13th. My dad passed away some years ago and that was the 13th and on January 13th I was woken at 3am with my house on fire. The whole family got out safe and sound, but the house has seen better day's.

This is one one of the main reasons I have not blogged for a while.

On a good note my wife gave birth to a baby boy on the 7th December, Archie Ian Douglas and he is the most laid back child I have ever known (well for now anyway). We will tell him all about the fire when he gets older, but for now we will just enjoy every minute but the second he starts to scream I'm out for a trip around the Islands.

I should have blogged over the Christmas period as I was out nearly everyday and even though it was cold it was good to be out, but it was very quite on the bird front.

On the seal front their were thousands. I looked at the state of the bank side on the Brownsman and it does not look good. The Wardens or should I say Rangers will have their work cut out to fix the damage the seals have done. I know it's nature and they need to cast their coats but in doing so they have made a mess of the Puffins Burrows. Hopefully the grass will grow back and it will be all good for when the birds arrive for the breeding season.