This blog is a parallel to my main blog Herkybirds nest
It will be no more or less than a glorified photo album of my travels near and far!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Having a Farne old time!

Yesterday, we went on a boat trip to Inner Farne island to see the nesting birds. 
Fortunately it was a lovely sunny day in North East England!

We started by driving through beautiful Northumberland, to Seahouses, a former herring fishing port, which now pays its way by providing boat trips to the islands off the Northumbrian coast.

I, for one, had a great time, and a quite eventful trip!! - I took 134 pictures on my 'Happy Snapper' camera....don't worry- I ditched about half of them due to poor quality or poor subject. On with the show...

Seahouses in the sun!
Looking down towards the harbour.
Looking out to sea from the harbour.
Looking North east, towards the islands.
Jonathan, Janet, Mark and Rachel, waiting for the boat.

The berth our boat would approach.
Some of the other boats in the harbour.
On board our little tub, it was quite full!
Looking back at the receding harbour. 
Out of the harbour, we headed up the coast, the North sea was quiet.
Looking over the boat at the coast.
We were heading into the swell, and our boat was pushing to make headway.
We passed the first of the inner Farne islands.
Ahead, we had our first sight of the outer Farnes.
We sailed past some grey seals basking on a small island.
They seemed uninterested!
there were a few other seals basking 'inland!'
That same island, I liked the clouds!
Another boat passed us to portside.
Another outer farne island.
A few seabirds were nesting on this low rock...
...it was probably subject to flooding in high seas!
We passed....
...a couple of small islands.
Then sailed on.
We now smelt a disgusting pong!
...coming from another island...
These were heavily colonised by various bird types.
The birds were rather house-proud, in my estimation...
...they had been whitewashing their nesting sites!
Guillemots, Razorbills and Cormorants, were all present.
All rather pretty, in a Gothic way!
Onwards we went, shadowed by fishing seabirds.
Another bird island.
There are many thousands of birds nesting on each of these islands.
They are one of the most important seabird nesting sites in Europe.
The birds seemed only marginally interested in our boat as we passed, I guess they had seen it all before!
We were going into little inlets on each island, other boats were taking turns with us going into each one.
Another island.
More poo!
This island sported a small quay, it was not our destination though.
The cloud was building up at this stage, was it going to rain?
We left that island...

...and ploughed on. Love those clouds.
We passed another island being visited by 2 other boats.
We saw another island looming up...
It sported an impressive lighthouse.
Not many birds though!
The automated lighthouse is near where Grace Darling performed her rescue of survivors from a paddle steamer disaster in the early 19th century.
These rocks were where the disaster happened.
We passed several more little islands.
Nothin on here, I just liked the picture!
This island sported an old lighthouse, long abandoned.
Another little boat powering past us.
Nice clouds.
There is that little boat again!
As we turned port, towards Inner Farne island, the water got choppier.
The dense cloud seemed to be breaking up though.
We went beam on to the swell at this point and all got soaked by the water splashing over the side!
As we dried, we stopped of at yet another poo-covered island.
The Northumberland coast in the distance.
This island was more substantial than most of the ones we had visited so far.
Together with another boat, we left that island and moved on.
ANOTHER little island...
...the last before Inner Farne though.
We pulled into the little harbour.
We headed inland after disembarking... 
...we were surrounded by nesting birds.

Bird attack! 
The Arctic Terns pecked us all incessantly as we ascended the path!

(Not my picture - I was fending them off!)
The attack ended as we reached the top of the island.
Mostly there were no tern nests, just Puffin holes...
...and the occasional Eider duck.
The attack Terns were watching still, but had had their fun with us!
The lighthouse on Inner Farne island.
We had to stick to a corduroy track to avoid upsetting the birds.
At the far end of the track, some Cormorants were nesting, they seemed very laid back and unworried by their visitors!
Great view, but these birds 'live on the edge!'
Everyone looking at the nesting Cormorants and Puffins.
Note all the hoods, not against rain but armour against Arctic Terns!
We returned to the lighthouse, where there was grass to sit on.
...watch the Puffins...
...and have lunch. Rachel had provided a lovely packed lunch for us.

On the way back to the boat after our hour ashore, we passed a lot of Puffin nests.
After surviving more Tern attacks on the way down, we re-boarded our boat.
We passed the part of the island we had not seen from the land.
Then we passed the Cormorant nesting site.
We made better speed back towards Seahouses.
We were travelling downwind and with the swell.
We soon reached the coast, and the end of our trip.
We moved deftly into the harbour.
And said goodbye to our little boat!
...and off for some shopping!
A Good day!