Saturday, 5 July 2014

Farne Islands: Part 2 (04/06/2014)

So a couple of days on from the first trip out to the Farnes and it's time to go again. The forecast was terrible and the forecast rain was with us from the start. I think this put off a few people and the boat was much less crowded as we headed out. I was glad for the waterproof cover covering my lens and camera, as well as my own waterproofs, as the rain came down even harder. Again I had gone with the 100-400mm zoom lens and I ended up shooting with it all day as conditions were not favourable for a lens change!

I grabbed a shot of the Longstone Lighthouse as we went past and you can see how grim it was as the light is clearly visible mid morning! 
Longstone Lighthouse
As usual the seals were unfazed by the weather and we got better views compared to the first trip with some nice close approaches to the rocks. 
Atlantic Grey Seal
Atlantic Grey Seal
I didn't do very well with Guillemots on the first trip out but managed this nice portrait on the way out.

Guillemot
I really like this Puffin against the black rocks, it's one of my favourites of the whole trip.

Atlantic Puffin
A busy morning around the Farnes!
And just to show what the rain was really like, here's a Shag having a preen in the shower! Another favourite of mine from this trip.

Cormorant preening in the rain.
When we got to Staple island I was determined to get some decent shots of Kittiwakes and this pair provided some good opportunities. I sat with them for quite a while watching the male depart and return with nest material and the pair bonding between trips. It was quite beautiful to watch.

Kittiwakes pair bonding.

The male Kittiwake brings in some more nest material.
I was really keen to have another crack at the Shags on Staple Island as they are very close to the edge of the roped off areas and I was entirely happy with my results from the first trip. I think I did better this trip despite the rain and was quite happy with these portraits of birds on their nests.
Shag on the nest in the rain

Relaxed Shag
Shag head detail
"You looking at me"
And finally this very soggy Shag trying to get it's head down for a kip.
"I've got my eye on you"
As we started heading back to the landing point this pair of LBB Gulls started getting a bit friendly. Obviously confident they could get enough eggs and chicks to feed theirs when they arrived.

Mating Lesser Black-backed Gulls
I wasn't going to focus too much on the Puffins this time, as I had stacks of flight shots to go through from the first trip, but I was glad I found an area where Puffins were coming in. Would have been nice to have a blue sky but that was never on the cards this time. Was just glad when the rain eased up a bit.

A Puffin departs after feeding it's young in the burrow.
Atlantic Puffin in flight with a beak full of Sand Eels

Atlantic Puffin in flight with a beak full of Sand Eels
I was quite pleased with these Puffin shots and my hit rate was much better this time. Just goes to show that the more you practice makes perfect. Still ways to go until perfect though!

There wasn't a lot to add from Inner Farne this time. I didn't go too mad with the Arctic Terns this time as I had loads from the first trip and the conditions were worse this time. I felt it was better to leave them alone and let them stay on their nests as much as possible as it was cooler today. In fact we were fortunate to get on Inner Farne, if the heavy rain had continued the rangers would most likely have closed Inner Farne to landings so the Terns didn't get disturbed.

This young Grey Seal was laid up on the beach by the landing point.
Young Atlantic Grey Seal
The Shags like to decorate their nests and keep refreshing the materials to keep the nests looking smart.
Shag sleeping on decorated nest.
One species I really neglected was the Sandwich Terns which also nest on Inner Farne. I didn't find the small colony to be ideally placed for photography but did eventually get this guy in flight as we waited for the boat. 
Sandwich Tern in flight.

And finally our last look back at the lighthouse on Inner Farne as we headed back to Seahouses.

The lighthouse on Inner Farne.
I'll definitely be going back to the Farnes in the future. There are so many photo opportunities that I didn't get around to this time, might even try a different lens next time ;-)