I pre-booked my trips but you can also take your chance and just turn up on the day. If the weather is not very favourable then you stand a good chance of getting a place, but there is also a chance that the trip may be cancelled. When the Terns are on eggs the rangers sometimes close Inner Farne to allow the birds to remain on the nests. As most will know when you go onto Inner Farne the Terns get up off their nests and attack visitors which leaves their eggs open to the elements. If it rains all day then there is a reasonable chance that the rangers will close Inner Farne to prevent the eggs getting cols while the Terns are off attacking visitors!
|Heading out past Inner Farne|
|Guillemots on Inner Farne|
|Kittiwake having a bath|
|Shag out fishing|
The first landing is Staple Island. You will be walking over rocks which become very slippery when wet so make sure you have good grip on your boots. There are great opportunities for photographing Puffins and Shags here. Guillemots, Kittiwakes and a few Fulmars along with the marauding Gulls were also good subjects but I focussed on the Puffins and the Shags. In fact I couldn't believe my luck when the first bird I saw, having got off the boat and paid my dues, was this Puffin.
|Puffin with Sand Eels|
The light wasn't ideal but I quite like the way it lights up the beak from behind. I was hoping for this type of shot when I booked the trip but to get it within a few minutes of stepping ashore was fantastic.
Quite a bit of Staple Island is open to roam as you please but the nesting areas are roped off so I spent a bit of time have a look around to see what was around and where I might get some good shots. There were plenty of Shags close to the edge of the roped off area making for some nice close ups. I love the green eye and way the feathers look like scales. These birds have a real prehistoric look to them but they are so confiding when you are up close to them.
|Shag at rest ("still keeping an eye on you")|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull stalking the Puffin nesting grounds.|
I spent a lot of time on Staple Island trying to capture Puffins in flight, especially those bringing in Sand Eels. I got a few shots but wasn't particularly happy with the results. Here are a selection of images.
Had to crop most of those to some extent which was a bit disappointing given how close some of them came. I'll just have to go back and have another go.
Just before we left Staple island I found this chap which book ended the stop nicely.
|Atlantic Puffin with Sand Eels|
|Grey Seal resting on the rocks|
|Arctic Tern (mono)|
|Arctic Tern coming in to attack|
|Arctic Tern on a fence post|
|Ground nesting Arctic Tern|
|Arctic Tern nesting on a dry stone wall|
|Arctic Tern on lichen covered rocks|
|Puffins congregate on the rocks before heading out to sea.|
|Black-headed Gull waits by the Puffin burrows.|
The LBB and Herring Gulls are ever present waiting for an opportunity to steal some fish.
|Lesser Black-backed Gull keeps an eye out for the Puffin food delivery service!|
|Kittiwake hovers on the updraught by the cliff face.|
|A pair of Razorbills|
By the way make sure you take time to have a chat to the rangers. They have amazing knowledge of the islands and know exactly what is going on with all of the birds. What a great job they are doing out there.
Information and links:
William Shiel (@thefarneislands)
Boat Trips to the Farne Islands from Seahouses harbour. Sailings available all year round.
Seahouses, Northumberland. http://www.farne-islands.com
@NTsteely Farne Islands Blog: http://farnephoto.blogspot.co.uk/