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Post Info TOPIC: Farne Islands


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RE: Farne Islands


A short film about photographing Arctic Terns on Inner Farne biggrin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alLhisMdgkc

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This weekend i had my head pecked and got poo-ed on on the Farne isles by Arctic terns, I always wanted to do that, i agree with Melanie B here that this is all part of the fun and i would of been gutted if i did not get a pecked on the head,i did not run the gauntlet, i casually strolled down hoping to get a quick peck, thats a Lifer expereince, Brilliant

i wasent that tough though, i did wear a hat to soften the blow


Nothing new of note to mention on the island thats not already been posted but further along the coast at Coquet island had great views of roseate terns and also a single med gull

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A single Roseate Tern was on the rocks close to the quay at Inner Farne on Tuesday 5th.

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I've been to the farnes before and have always remembered them as a good seabird colony, and a visit today confirmed this view. An early morning start saw us at Seahouses Harbour a good hour before the boat (just enough time for a bacon butty biggrin.gif). Once on the quayside, got ringed plover, bar tailed godwit and a few eiders, including a mother with young. On the way out, loads of gannets flying south, including a first summer bird. Highlight on the way out though was a single Roseate Tern, which stayed with the boad for a few seconds, wouldn't have seen it had it not been for a party of london birders. When i'm on Staple Island I often end up spending an innordinate amount of time trying to photograph puffins, which turns out to be a bad thing as it meant I spent less time looking at Fulmars, Guillimots, Razorbills, Rock Pipits, Kittiwakes, Shags and Eiders. However, still had superb views of all species, especially the female Eiders, some of which you could practically stand on. Alas, we had to move on to Inner Farne.

On Inner Farne, the usual barrage of Arctic Terns started as soon as we left the boat. However, on the way there had Purple Sandpiper in glorious summer plumage sitting in front of some very obiging seals. Anyway, on Inner Farne got Sandwich Terns plus the normal farnes mix of terns, gulls and terns. On the island there were loads more eider chicks, about 10 with 2 adult females and 6 males. However, a heavy wind had picked up whilst we were on the island and this meant huge swell on the sea, which kept coming over the side of the boat, my camera got soaked, but I think its OK. This also meant you couldn't see anything on the sea. Anyway, its a great place and anyone who wants to see a fantastic sea bird colony this is without doubt the best one in the UK.

What s way to spend judgement day biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

-- Edited by Joe Wynn on Saturday 21st of May 2011 09:33:07 PM

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I went to the farnes this weekend from friday till sunday. i had an amazing time ! its my 4th time there i absolutely love the place. Landed on staple island and got some amazing photos of puffins ! one of them is of two gulls chasing the puffin with a beak full of sand eels in mid air, took about 1 hour to get that shot ! had some good views of the guillemots, and a few bridled Guillemots too ! hardly any terns on staple which is a bummer but the puffins were just great as usual ! once back in seahouses we went to the arctic tern and little tern colony at newton on the sea where some great views of both species were to be had as well as some wonderfull LRP chicks and a few good sightings of common lizard which was great !

all in all i had an amazing weekend as always when in the farnes !

- Jake !

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It was a great day out. My thanks again to Melanie for organising it. Toni just smiled all day, apart from when she saw how small the boat was! Although she was fine once we set off and found it very funny on the way back when several people got covered in spray off the sea.

The Eider chick was attacked in the water just after being released by a Herring Gul but was beaten off by 3 female Eiders. Then 2 minutes later a Lesser Black Back landed in the water close by and was attacked and beaten off by 1 female. This was witnessed by Toni, myself and Simon J.

A fantastic day out with great company. Toni said it was her best birthday present ever and her best day out, even though she had to get up at 4am.

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Sunday 27th June...

Our trip consisted of Sue Fargher, daughter Toni, Paul Wilson, Simon Johnson, Nik Grounds,Cliffy and Phil Jennison.
28 for the boat crossings and 6..(unless you're a N/Trust member) on each island.

Everyones breakfast paid for by Mr Wilson (must remind him next year, this might become a tradition wink.gif)

We got at Seahouses in record time, l believe just 2 and 3/4 hours.We got aboard the Glad Tidings Vl and headed for the first of the two islands.

On route you are shown the Seals that are lounging around on and around the rocky islands,also in the waters were lots of Jellyfish. Plus the sae captains tell you historical info about the surrounding island and Lighthouses.

Once on Staple island the smell of the birds excrement is strong to say the least.
Most of the Shags have fairly large young all 'panting' heavily under their downy feathers and the baking heat. It is amazing to admire these birds so closely.
Many fluffy Kittiwake young were also seen, although the girls amongst our group re-named them Pretti-wakes smile.gif
Sue found a couple of nesting Fulmars, the rest of the island gave way to Guillemots, Razorbills (both with young) and of course Puffins, one fledged on Saturday night.
We found a Eider duckling down a deep gorge, unable to get out and no mother around, we located a Warden who scooped it out and took it over to the water where several females had young, one was the same age as our orphan. Once with the others, this little fella was accepted and swam along like he was part of the family biggrin.gif...turns out that the Eiders, that aren't mothers still have a very maternal side and often will be referred to as 'Aunty Eider' where orphans are concerned. biggrin.gif

Along with the good, we have to accept the inevitable ugly side of nature. We saw a Herring Gull, pecking and tearing apart, what we decided was a Kittiwake chick, it was a fresh kill and very gruesome, (then we were involved with the baby Eider) only a few minutes later see either the same or another Gull take another large K/chick.On speaking to a witness, he said this Gull had drowned the bird before eating it. Where this was taking place the K/wakes were nesting very low down so they were easy pickings for any predator.

A couple of rock Pipits were around and one was feeding a chick near us.
Simon found a couple of Manx Shearwaters making a very brief appearance, everything else was the usual, one sad sight was a pair of K/wake chicks who's parents hadn't chosen the best nest sight and this poor pair were covered,no...caked in the faeces of the birds nesting above, How would these young literally be able to spread their wings and fly cry.gif
What a crap start to life...literally.

We then left for our second island Inner Farne smile.gif

Before you now get off the boat a N/Trust member warns you that the nesting Terns are dive bombing and so to be aware. Several steps have now been taken to try and ensure the young and eggs are protected from the public but they (in my opinion) need many more Wardens dotted around the place.

Along the board walk up to the Information block, the birds are nesting very close to peoples feet so now chicken wire is used to deter run-away chicks and small boards line the area's where wire is of no use. The improvements aren't great but it is better. Still the daft amongst us( think that 'running the gaunlet' of divebombing birds is the real treat on the island and see it as such furious.gifconfuse.gif
There were many Sandwich Terns and the skulking Juv' Black Headed Gulls in the same area.
The Terns were as beautiful as ever, one obligingly stood still for several moments whilst we admired it's striking beauty, the feet are teeny tiny, and so were the chicks, even the biggest, hairiest fella's found themselves ooh-ing and ahh-ing at them.

We were lucky enough to see two comical siblings trying to outdo each other as they tested out their wings biggrin.gif. The Puffins were being bullied as usual by the Blackheaded Gulls who almost like soldiers were patrolling their burrows or literally standing guard, so when a Puffin came back with sand eels, the Gulls would snatch them off them. But the poor Puffin, on see-ing the guard outside his nesthole would the steer back out to sea and fly around and hope that when he returned the Gull would be gone hmm.gif
On the beach before we left we saw a couple of Ringed Plovers and two Turnstones.

A good day with great company, afterwards we all went for a big plate of fish and chips, l was giddy for them on the boat over biggrin.gif

Thanks to the drivers for geting us there and back, safe and sound biggrin.gif

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I go to the Farnes at least once each year. The weekend weather has been problematic in 2010. Landing on Staple was impossible on the 12th of June, so Billy Shiel's all-day trip was off and I went on the substitute trip to Inner Farne only, which allowed 3 hours on the island.
It takes about 25 minutes to get there from Seahouses, depending on weather and tides.
I am told that there were no boats on the 19th because of bad weather. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another trip within the next couple of weeks.

Alan

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I've read elsewhere that the wardens are now taking no chances and talking to each boatload before disembarkation which sounds like a good plan to me [shame its required but better that than any further needless bird fatalities]...

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Is it worth booking Melanie? I havent been for many years and intend to go at the end of June! I dont want to lose places with your 10 strong mob going up!! haha! biggrin.gif

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Sent the link to this story to the Springwatch website with a suggestion that they might like to highlight it on the programme.
So far they've upheld my message...presumably because it doesn't contain enough fluffy Avocet chicks...or is that me being cynical again ?

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l see what you mean about people just jumping on the boat (casts eyes to heaven).

We went around the same time last year so we'll have to see how this year compares.
Best wishes..

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I know what you mean about how the majority should know Melanie but I hadn't realised the sort of tourist sales pitch there is nowadays at the end of the jetty/harbour area - again its no excuse for idiots but just a thought that some people will book it as they wander past in pure tourist mode and not have a clue? I did have a chat with one lad and suggest it wasn't a good idea to stick his hand down the burrows he could reach from the path disbelief.gif

Anyway still hope they have enough evidence against last weeks malcontent!

Not sure what stage they'll be at in June but there was some interesting mobbing by gulls of incoming Puffins at the south west of inner Farne and an Eider nursery nearbye in a rock pool. The Sandwich Terns showed well from the landing area - I'm jealous that I couldn't do the full birders tour!

-- Edited by Pete Welch on Wednesday 9th of June 2010 09:34:12 PM

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No dis-respect Pete...l don't know how anyone could visit here and not know what goes on confuse.gif
It's so publicised and the Islands are well-known for their birds and the drama that goes on.

Ten of us have our places booked at the end of June to go, we hope nothing like that tragic episode repeats itself whilst we're there.

Last year when we went, another moron unbelieveably stepped over the guide ropes and destroyed a whole nest!!!

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I was lucky enough to do the same trip as Holly describes last Friday and even my four year old found the tern attacks funny once she got over the initial shock, so why on earth someone chose to attack a bird like that is beyond me. I hope they are prosecuted.

The only thing I would say is that I remembered what the terns were like 33 years ago when I last visited, so we all went with a hood or a hat for protection but speaking to a few of our fellow passengers on the boat [and helping them with a few IDs] they didn't have a clue what awaited them. It's no defense for the senseless actions of the individual concerned in the death of the tern: which were unbelievably extreme, but in general perhaps non birding people should be warned at some point prior to boarding the boat?

Anyway thoroughly recommend the 2.5 hour trip as a family trip which just happens to have some good birding along the way and the looks on the kids faces as they watched Puffins from five feet away were brilliant to behold. I can also recommend the chippy on the roundabout for tea biggrin.gif

Saw Sandwich, Artic, Common Terns, Black Headed Gulls terrorising Puffins returning with sandeels, bridled guillemot plus normally marked ones, Razorbills, Shags, Fulmar, Kittewake, Ringed Plover, Eider but didn't see any Skuas which I thought might have been following the terns back in?

PS If you're in the National Trust take your membership card and the landing fee is waved.

-- Edited by Pete Welch on Wednesday 9th of June 2010 07:19:52 PM

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l'm disgusted and beyond angry at this imbecile furious.gif

Why go on the Island if that's how you're going to behave ? Everyone who visits The Farnes knows that these birds are defending their offspring. So don't go if you have a phobia or are apprehensive about the birds that WILL dive bomb you.

l do hope 'he' was caught and is punished severly.

l would like to think who ever witness this horrendous attack on this poor bird, would've spoken up and damned him for his miserable, cowardly actions furious.gif
l wouldn't have hesitated believe me!!

Not only did he kill the parent, he ensured that the new un-hatched family would not survive also furious.gif

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Read this from yesterday..cry.gif

http://farnephoto.blogspot.com/

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I went on the Inner Farne Island boat trip yesterday. That one is 2.5 hours in total and takes you on a trip round all the islands in the boat and stops so you can take photos. You then get 1 hour on Inner Farne itself. That trip was 13 plus a 6 landing charge on the Island.

All the info on the different trips is on this website: www.farne-islands.com/boat-trips.

And make sure you take a hat to protect your head - those Artic Tern beaks are pretty painful!!!

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The full day trip was about 25 per person Matt and allowed just over 2 hours on both Staple and Inner Farne. The time varies a bit though depending on tides and weather.

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Hi Henry,

We are planning a trip up there in the next few weeks. How much is the boat trip these days and how long are you on each island?

Cheers

Matt

-- Edited by Matt Potter on Tuesday 8th of June 2010 10:01:40 AM

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Did the day trip to Staple and Inner Farne on 3/6 and couldn't have picked a better day to visit one of Britains best wildlife treasures. The sea was as flat as a particularly flat pancake, with a gentle sea breeze to keep the most of the stifling heat off us during the day. Classic views of all the Puffins (reportedly 35000 breed here, although I only counted 34900wink.gif), guillemots (c45000!), razorbills, kits, fulmars, shags, gulls and common, arctic and sandwich terns were had, a right spectacle! I couldn't pick out any Roseates despite there being reports of one pair there this year but the vegetation is quite tall already. Arctics on Inner Farne were really aggresive this time as all were still on eggs, a highlight of the trip. Bits and bobs also seen on and around the islands included small numbers of Cormorants, Gannets, Eiders, Mallard, Ringed Plovers, Rock Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Oystercatcher and Turnstones.

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Thanks for pointing out the Roseate Tern on Inner Farne - made me day

Nice to meet you all

Regards

Les Steele

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Sun 28 June with Melanie, Paul & Sue, Phil Jennison, Jill Islam and Ken and Sharon.

A great day was had by all with overcast conditions being perfect for the photographers amongst us. You are never dissapointed with the Farne Islands birds everywhere and so far its been a good breeding season with good numbers of sand eels around, lets hope it continues. Even Roseates are breeding on Brownsman this year with upto 3 pairs present but no access allowed. 2 hours on Staple Island and 3 hours on Inner Farne where did the time go. All the usual seabirds within touching distance of you but my personal favourite the Arctic Terns with their relentless divebombing and one took a fancy to Melanie perching on her head for 5 minssmile.gif care is needed not to stand on the tiny chicks all over the place. Meanwhile female Eiders walking right past you taking their young down to the sea for the first time. Highlight for most was the adult Roseate Tern by the jetty on Inner Farne making it 4 species of tern for the day. Beltin.

-- Edited by Simon Warford on Monday 29th of June 2009 02:41:29 PM

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Place is now taken.

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I think we have one spare place in a car for a day trip to the Farne Islands this Sunday if anyones interested. Cost is 25.00 plus landing fee visiting Inner farne and hopefully Staple island weather permitting. Anyone interested let me know.

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Well, been and come back. Had a great time, but did not see anything other than what you would expect. Went to the Farnes on Thursday AM and landed on Staple - loads of Puffins and Guillimots on and off the water.
Visited the usual Coastal sites, Stag rock,Beadnall,Budle, and walked from Craster to Dunstanburgh inland and then back along the coast.

Had some great views of yellowhammers.


Geoff

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Thanks Henry and Sid,
Will report next week as I am staying an extra two days with friends near Alnmouth.

Geoff

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I haven't experienced problems myself Sid, thankfully! But know plenty of people who have. Well worth the risk of going up there even if you can't get across.
Plenty of fantastic birding to be had on the mainland, as previous reports in this thread highlight.
Henry.

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Henry didn't realise that you had experienced problems of getting to the Farnes - but Geoff if you book with Billy Shiel's they are apparently very reliable.



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If you're planning on getting over to the islands Geoff keep a close eye on the weather. The boats can cancel at the drop of a hat in pretty mild conditions sometimes.
Good luck with getting across. The islands are a paradise of british birds.
Henry.

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"We Four" are going up to Seahouses for three days this coming week, so looking forward to time on the islands, and the coast in general.smile.gif

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There are lots of other places to bird in the area. The sandy beach at Beadnell is beautiful. At the southern end where a stream called the long nanny cuts the beach in two is an Arctic Tern colony with also Common & Little Terns present. The dunes behind this stretch regularly attract cracking birds.

Below are good websites for local birding.

http://newtonstringer.blogspot.com

http://www.newtonbirding.co.uk/

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Hi Mike
Saturday was my first ever visit but it won't be my last....l think you can easily do two days or more depending on what you want to see.Two hours on each island is great but you are aware of the time slipping away when you are becoming engrossed in watching birds so closely living out their lives.l could've happily gone back the next day and 'mooched' around and explored the corners l missed,will definitely go again though smile.gif....best wishes

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Simon/Melanie

I had Arctic Terns on my head both days but made sure I wore a hat! I saw one bloke who didn't with blood streaming down his face.

I managed a Roseate for a few seconds before the Tern flock flushed and I lost it. They had been coming into the beach to the left of the landing stage (looking out to sea). Fortunately I was spared the scenes of murder elsewhere!

One of my best moments was sat with my wife on the beach at Beadnell, a mile down the road from Seahouses. A Sandwich Tern flew fast along the beach just a few feet above the sand, calling loudly. It flew literally an arms length above our heads with a dark-phase Arctic Skua right behind it!!! I spent the rest of the afternoon on a supposedly non-birding day watching this Skua and a pale-phase bird harrassing anything that moved, often right above where we sat. I did have to go back and get my scope and bins of course!

I also managed to dip Lesser Grey Shrike by a day and a Rose Coloured Starling by 30 minutes at Long Nanny (which is near to where we stayed) due to delays getting up there.

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7 years since my last visit to the Farne Islands and you forget how good a place it is. Having only ever been on Inner Farne before (twitching Elsie) the chance to visit both Inner Farne and Staple Island in the same day was very appealing. The sight of a guillemot chick being murdered by an adult was rather disturbing and at one point we couldnt bare to watch! Yet on inner farne we watched new life being born as an arctic tern chick pecked its way out of the egg right next to the path. Highlight was probably the Arctic Terns as always very aggressive and at one point one perched on a chaps head, wasnt you Mike was it?? Good to see so many tern chicks all over the place but sad to read signs put up by wardens that one chick got trodden on and killed and 2 others got squashed to death by a careless birder putting a tripod case on themdisbelief.gif

No sign of any Roseate Terns and couldnt find the wrens which have apparently bred for the first time ever on the islands. A terrific day out and highly reccomended to anyone who has never been before, just watch where your walkinghmm.gif

-- Edited by Simon Warford at 18:18, 2008-06-22

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Hi Mike
no we never got the Roseate Tern,l think you must've just missed out on the young being born,as all of the Terns we saw had eggs or young ones,one Tern had three chicks!! Some young had very pale feet and matching bills and their siblings had darker feet n bills l presume this was cos they were older?? We really did strike lucky with the weather and seeing all the young.In fact the only ones not to have babies were the Puffins...think they may be still underground as they were constantly bringing in sand eels to their burrows......best wishes Melanie.
l>-- Edited by Melanie Beckford at 13:58, 2008-06-22

-- Edited by Melanie Beckford at 14:13, 2008-06-22

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Hi Melanie

The Farnes are stunning - I am just back from spending a week up there and managed to get two full days on the trip you went on - one of the most amazing experiences I have had.

Did you manage to get a Roseate Tern on Inner Farne?

When I was there no young Terns had hatched and I did wander round several times with an Arctic Tern perched on my head!

Glad you enjoyed the trip.

Mike

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Saturday morning,Simon Warford and l went to The Farne Islands for the day.... it was brilliant!! An all day-er on Staple and Inner Farne 10-4pm....25 return trip.
We arrived on Staple Island just after 10am and we were greeted by nesting Shags (colours on these birds are amazing) only a foot away and many with young,along with hundreds of hundreds of Guillemots (many bridled) all 'whirring and growling',lots n lots of comical Puffins,some seem to actually pose for photos typically with sand eels in their bills.
The couple of hours we had on Staple was fantastic,you cannot comprehend the vast number of birds playing out their lives whilst we watched,at best it was wonderful,intimate and fabulous but as we all know nature isn't always kind and we witnessed many sad sights,Great Black-backed Gulls stealing eggs and eating young,a Guillemot pecking to death a tiny chickcry.gif and Black Headed Gulls harrasing Puffins for their sand eels.
Then we had a couple of hours on Inner Farne which had a kinder feel to it,loaded with the stunning Arctic Terns and their 'bite size' babies some only a day or two old,that are by your feet it's incredible just how close these birds will nest to the foot paths and as we all know,woe be tide you should you linger to near to their nest or young.Simon isn't blessed with the natural 'packing' that l have (my hair) so when the Terns came a pecking Simon suffered alot (ha ha was funny)....also we watched the wonderful Sandwich Tern with their young a few Gannet,Razorbills and one lone Ringed Plover,plenty of Eiders with young too.
A very funny moment was when Simon,pondered as to wether it had started to rain or if a Tern had cr*pped on him,unfortunately for him it was the latter and it was on his face l coulldn't help him as l was hysterically laughing!!
Brilliant day,great company and the rain only started as we left for shore....HUGE thanks to Warfy for driving biggrin.gif

-- Edited by Melanie Beckford at 13:28, 2008-06-22



-- Edited by Melanie Beckford at 13:35, 2008-06-22

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