Sunday, 29 December 2013

What a season 2013 was..

When I started to think about this blog more and more things came into my head and I have to say this has been the best year for me personally, but a cracking year all round.

We started the year of with dreadful weather and we struggled to get the boats ready for the new season and then gales hit us which made it worse.

It started on the morning of March 16th at 7am when I got a call about a boat on the rocks. At first I thought the lad was pulling my leg but then I realized he wasn't.

I went out the harbour for a look for myself and was blown away by the size big ship sitting on the rocks. I could not believe it to be honest, especially with todays technology.

After a few dreadful weeks of bad weather the salvage team managed to get it of without any hiccups and off she went.

The weather did not really pick up or a good while and I was praying that we were not going to have a season like we did the year before.

The only good thing was that it brought some beautiful Long-Tailed Ducks into the harbour, but on a sad note we had lots of dead birds along the beaches and as the season was approaching this was the last thing the Farnes needed.

The weather really never started to get settled until mid April and then it was still freezing, but the time May arrived the weather was much better. The Islands were starting to get that buzz again.

We even managed to raise four Mallards successfully and we released them onto Monks House Pond and to this day Joan (my wife) keeps asking me to go along and check to see they are okay, and yes before I do go along but sometimes it takes me a long time to check them.

June was a nice month and we started to see some Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise and the odd Minkie Whale.

The Sunset Cruises were in full swing and we had some cracking trips this year. I must admit I do love these trips even though it makes it long days.

We first encountered some Bottlenose Dolphins on our way home from the Sunset Cruise and as you can tell we were a wee bit late that night. (Nothing to do with me really).

They disappeared for a couple of days and then they returned but it was at low water early in the morning and I was outside the harbour just waiting for my guests when I saw then again and they were in the mood to play.


Things were picking up and the breeding season was in full swing. We had lots of film crews on the Islands this year and most of you have probably seen the programs and I must admit I am really enjoying Robson Green in Tales of the North. It just shows you what a wonderful place we live in and it was funny looking at him after his nights sleep on the Inner Farne. He looked like s**t.

We also had Tony Robinson (Baldrick) out on the boat for a program he's filming for Channel 4 called Walking Through History at 8pm, 30th March, so keep your eye out for it.

Then July came with an almighty bang. Oh yes the bird of the year. A Bridled Tern showed up on the Inner Farne and caused havoc in the birding world.
I must admit it was a cracking bird which I had the privilege of seeing quiet a lot but still enjoyed every moment.


We also saw lots and lots of Minkie Whales in July and they were seen on a daily basis by everyone. I was very lucky to have them around the boat a few times and Peter even managed to get some video footage.

Infact this has been the best year for ever for seeing Minkie Whales as we were still seeing them in August, Sept and even some fisherman seen them in October.

We also had lots of Harbour Porpoise and of course was those beautiful White Beaked Dolphins playing with the boat.

By the end of August we had seen loads and I have never even mentioned the weather. Amazing to be honest.

In August we had thousands of Manx Shearwaters rafting around the Islands and one day while my guests were on the Island I went to have a look at them and found a Baleric Shearwater in the middle of them. I was gobsmacked as there was not just 1 but 3 in total. I also heard that this was a Farnes record which was great news.

In September we started to get birds passing through the Islands and we had lots of Skuas stopping to attack the terns for their food.

We were also at the end of our Sunset Cruises and the light was just fantastic for photography.

In October I was alerted about a Greenland Shark on the beach at Embelton which is really rare. We were also getting closer to the seal season and it would not be long before loads of seal pups were around.

In November the weather was still holding up and we had 2 Common Dolphins swimming around the boat which was amazing and again a first for the Farne Islands.
They even followed a boat back to the harbour.

When December arrived we were still having nice weather and for this time of the year was really good until the 6th and then it all changed. Yes we got hit by a storm and the weather has not really settled since then, but after the storm the winds had dropped and we were given a treat on Seahouses Golf Course by an Ivory Gull.

What a beautiful bird and a mega for Northumberland. We were even more lucky as we got 2 later on in the day by Beadnell on the beach. 

For me personally this has been the best year for birds, cetacean's and weather. I hope next year is just as good and not just for me but for everyone.

I would like to thank everyone that has joined me this year, to Steely and the Rangers, to Gary Woodburn for helping me become a better birder, to the girls in the booking office who are the ones that make my job easy, to all my followers on Twitter and Facebook and last but not least to my right hand man Andy who puts up with me 7 day's a week and of course Peter who has to put up with Toby. LOL.

Cheers guys and I hope you had a great Christmas and an even better New Year form everyone at Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours.

1 comment:

jess2009 said...

Thanks Andrew.
its been a real pleasure reading your blog .We discovered Northumberland a few years ago and now come up every year staying in Beadnell.
We had the pleasure of meeting you in May and going out on the boat your knowledge and experience made the trip great.
We will be seeing you in June when we hope to have another visit to Inner farne and get on one of your sunset trips.
Happy New year jess & Simon