Sunday, 31 May 2015

Eggs are hatching

Over the last few days some of the eggs have been hatching around the Islands, with the first Guillemots being spotted on Staple Island the other day. We have Eider Duck chicks now leaving the Farnes and we saw the first ones make it back to the harbour the other day but unfortunately they did not make it, but others have started to arrive now so fingers crossed they will make it to adult size.

The Shags chicks are everywhere now and still more to come. Kittiwakes have also been spotted and the big one of them all is the Puffin. We don't see the chick as it is in it's burrow but I saw the first Puffin on the edge of the rocks with sandeels in its bill so there must be a puffling's down the burrow somewhere which is great to see.

Bring it on, and hopefully I will get a chance to get some good pictures this year.

I think this Guillemot egg has been broken into by a gull but it shows you the shape of the egg.

Her egg is right beside her but she was not going to let us see the jumpling

Ringed Plover Eggs

Talk about being shit on from a big height.

The gulls enjoy an eggs or two and I'm not that keen on seeing this.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Sunset Cruises

Just to let you all know that our Sunset Cruises have started again and they will be going every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm to 9ish pm so if you fancy a trip to the Islands going the Golden Hour then please give the booking office a call on 01665 721667 or mail me at and then enjoy what the Farnes has to offer during a evening cruise. If you are into wildlife, photography or just love the Farnes then this is the perfect trip for you. Here is a little taster for of the fantastic trip we did on Tuesday evening a it was great to see some familiar faces on board the boat.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Dive Bombing Time

Well its happening once again. Those beautiful Arctic Terns have now laid their eggs so when you arrive on the Inner Farne they will give you the Arctic Kiss as you pass their nests, so don't forget to where a hat or wave your hand above your head as they can really hurt you. Don't let this put you off landing on the Inner Farne as they are great to see and you can under stand why they do peck you as they travel some distances every year. The Arctic tern or Arctic Angels as we call them, are famous for its migration, it flies from its Arctic breeding grounds or the Farnes in this case, to the Antarctic and back again each year, the shortest distance between these areas are roughly 19,000 km (12,000 mi). The long journey ensures that this bird sees two summers per year and more daylight than any other creature on the planet. The perfect example of this bird's remarkable long-distance flying abilities involves an Arctic tern ringed as an unfledged chick on the Inner Farne in the summer of 1982, which in October 1982, just three months from fledging, reached Melbourne, Australia. Assuming a direct route of flight, the distance covered would have been more than 22,000 km (14,000 mi), now that's amazing for such a small bird and this is why we love them so much at the Farnes and remember take care as you walk around the island as they will lay their eggs anywhere. Enjoy these beautiful birds and remember how far they have travelled each year just so they can raise their young.

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.