Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Day 4 Let's go see the Puffins....


You can't come to Northumberland and not take a visit out to the 
Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland, England. There are between 15 and 20 islands depending on the state of the tide.[1] They are scattered about 1½–4¾ miles (2.5–7.5 km) from the mainland, divided into two groups, the Inner Group and the Outer Group. The main islands in the Inner Group are Inner Farne, Knoxes Reef and the East and West Wideopens (all joined together on very low tides) and (somewhat separated) the Megstone; the main islands in the Outer Group are Staple Island, the Brownsman, North and South Wamses, Big Harcar and the Longstone. The two groups are separated by Staple Sound. The highest point, on Inner Farne, is 62 feet (19 metres) above mean sea level.(LINK)

Monday morning looked like the best day for the weather even though the wind was blowing quite strong. Our trip was to Staple Island.

Staple Island is a small rocky island, or skerry, that is one of the Outer Group of the Farne Islands in Northumberland, England. The Farne Islands are a designated National Nature Reserve.[1] Staple Island is an important wildlife habitat known for its prolific breeding colonies of Atlantic puffins, razorbills and kittiwakes. A notable colony of grey seals breeds on the island with pups born every year in September–November.(LINK)


Found Elvis cruising the harbour....


 Island’s colony of grey or Atlantic seals. 
The islands have the largest breeding colony in England with some 1,000 pups born here each autumn.


Puffin



Puffins are one of the few birds that have the ability to hold several small fish in their bills at a time. Their raspy tongues and spiny palates allow them to firm grasp 10 to 12 fish during one foraging trip. They thus can bring more food back to their young compared with other seabirds that tend to swallow and regurgitate meals for their chicks. (LINK)


Puffins only possess Technicolor bills—and their matching orange feet—during the spring breeding season. Just before winter sets in, they shed the colourful outer bill, leaving a noticeably smaller and duller-coloured beak. (LINK)









Fulmar
Almost gull-like, this grey and white seabird is related to the albatrosses. It flies low over the sea on stiff wings, with shallow wingbeats, gliding and banking to show its white underparts then grey upperparts. At its breeding sites it will fly high up the cliff face, riding the updraughts. They will feed in flocks out at sea. They defend their nests from intruders by spitting out a foul-smelling oil. (LINK)


                              Guillemot

The UK's coasts have many stretches of sheer cliffs where seabirds breed and the guillemot is one of the most numerous birds in the great 'seabird cities'. It comes to land only to nest, spending the rest of its life at sea, where it is vulnerable to oil spills. Dark brown and white, not as black as the similar razorbill, it has a 'bridled' form with a white ring round the eye and stripe behind it. (LINK)





 Kittiwake
A gentle looking, medium-sized gull with a small yellow bill and a dark eye. It has a grey back and is white underneath. Its legs are short and black. In flight the black wing-tips show no white, unlike other gulls, and look as if they have been 'dipped in ink'. The population is declining in some areas, perhaps due to a shortage of sandeels. After breeding birds move out into the Atlantic where they spend the winter. (LINK)


 Razorbill
The razorbill is a medium-sized seabird. It is black above and white below. It has a thick black beak which is deep and blunt, unlike the thinner bill of the similar guillemot. It breeds around the coast of the UK, with the largest colonies in northern Scotland. There are none breeding between the Humber and the Isle of Wight. Birds only come to shore to breed, and winter in the northern Atlantic. The future of this species is linked to the health of the marine environment. Fishing nets, pollution and declining fish stocks all threaten the razorbill. (LINK)



Shag
Shags are goose-sized dark long-necked birds similar to cormorants but smaller and generally slimmer with a characteristic steep forehead. In the breeding season adults develop a dark glossy green plumage and prominent recurved crest on the front of their head. In the UK they breed on coastal sites, mainly in the north and west, and over half their population is found at fewer than 10 sites, making them an Amber List species. Shags usually stay within 100-200km of their breeding grounds. (LINK)




There were all sizes of chicks 


Herring gull
Herring gulls are large, noisy gulls found throughout the year around our coasts and inland around rubbish tips, fields, large reservoirs and lakes, especially during winter. Adults have light grey backs, white under parts, and black wing tips with white 'mirrors'. Their legs are pink, with webbed feet and they have heavy, slightly hooked bills marked with a red spot. Young birds are mottled brown. They have suffered moderate declines over the past 25 years and over half of their UK breeding population is confined to fewer than ten sites.(LINK)


Kittiwake
A gentle looking, medium-sized gull with a small yellow bill and a dark eye. It has a grey back and is white underneath. Its legs are short and black. In flight the black wing-tips show no white, unlike other gulls, and look as if they have been 'dipped in ink'. The population is declining in some areas, perhaps due to a shortage of sandeels. After breeding birds move out into the Atlantic where they spend the winter. (LINK)




Kittiwake a little hot.

I loved seeing all the birds especially the Puffins, not sure I liked all the people on the Island even though I was one of them.
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Later that afternoon I took a walk along the beach to ( seen on spring watch)



Keeping to the outer fencing as not to disturb the birds (still a long way of) one of the wardens walked through the middle, sending the birds into the air.. then  politely asked me to move as I was upsetting the birds !!!!

Arctic tern
With its long tail streamers and general shape the Arctic tern deserves the local name of 'sea swallow'. Appearing white with a black cap, it is largely coastal although it can be seen inland on migration. It depends on a healthy marine environment and some colonies have been affected by fish shortages. Arctic terns are the ultimate long distance migrants - summer visitors to the UK and winter visitors to the Antarctic. (LINK)


After a  brief discussion about the birds, he said I could walk round the outer edge to the hut on the hill to look at the birds as they had some scopes set up. In the end I stood on the sand dunes and looked through my own binoculars.

The Little Terns are nesting in the boxes, if the tide comes in to far the boxes will stop the nests from been washed away.

Little Tern
 This delightful chattering seabird is the UK's smallest tern. It is short-tailed and has a fast flight. Its bill is a distinctive yellow with a black tip. It is noisy at its breeding colony where courtship starts with an aerial display involving the male calling and carrying a fish to attract a mate which chases him up high before he descends, gliding with wings in a 'V'. Its vulnerable nesting sites and its decline in Europe make it an Amber List species. (LINK)




29 comments:

  1. Hello, this is an awesome post. I love all the puffin photos. The sea birds are so cool. What a great outing! Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

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    1. Thanks Eileen, the Puffins are so cute it was nice to get so close...
      Amanda xx

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  2. A wonderful collection of photographs!

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    1. Thanks Louise, glad you liked the photos...
      Amanda xx

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  3. How wonderful! I love the Puffins:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie, I've only seen on Puffin before at Bempton cliff many years before, they were all over the Island, flying in a with their beaks full of fish...
      Amanda xx

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  4. A wonderfully informative seabird post.Love the pictures and maybe I can use your post if I ever need to identify any seabirds especially gulls.:)

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    1. Thanks Shazza, hope the information comes in handy, as for Gulls they can be a bit tricky...
      Amanda xx

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  5. We didn't make it out to the Farnes, partly lack of time but also the fact you have to go in a boat - both of us are horribly sick in boats. Wonderful photos especially the puffins. x

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    1. Thanks Julie, the boat trip was a bit rough, there was a slim chance we were not going to land. In the end we had to go to the other side of the Island to get of...thankfully me and OH don't get sea sick...Glad you like the Puffins.
      Amanda xx

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  6. What a wonderful trip - the weather looked gorgeous - and such wonderful shots of all the birds. I saw a programme with Nigel Williamson on the tv the other day showing all the birds that you have featured above - but that was on the Shiant Islands. Puffins are adorable aren't they - such sad eyes - but comical too.

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    1. Thanks Elaine, we picked the best day to go, we had rain most days but managed to do what we wanted. I had not realised how sad they look till I looked at my photos...
      Amanda xx

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  7. A wonderful and really interesting post with superb photos! The puffins are just incredible :) I haven't seen any for years - last time was on a boat trip from Padstow and we only saw a couple at sea. It sounds such a perfect day out although sorry to hear about the warden later in the day :( So enjoying your Northumberland posts - I know D wants to visit too so perhaps we will have a holiday there one day.

    Enjoy the rest of the week :)

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    1. Thanks RR, there's more photos to come of this wonderful place. loved the boat trip, I just like been next to water think it's the Pisces in me.
      Did think the warden was better at working with animals rather than human's. Often think because I'm not dressed in the "right gear" people sometime dismiss me as someone who is really interested, I was in pink that day... not a hint of green/badge !!
      Fingers crossed for next year...
      Amanda xx

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  8. Gorgeous photos Amanda, everything especially the sea looks stunning! xx

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    1. Thanks Pam,thanks for the lovely comment. It looked very nice, had took my cozzy in the hope we would be able to go in the sea down on the beach one day, even to cold for me.
      Amanda xx

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    2. That would have been brave, I haven't done that off the English coast in a very long time! x

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  9. Fantastic! Your puffin picture are superb. What a great place to visit xx

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    1. Thanks CT, I know it would be a long drive but you would love it here....
      Amanda xx

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  10. Wow, amazing photos of all those beautiful birds! Thanks for sharing highlights from your outing! It looks like the weather was decent that day, too?

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    1. Thanks PP, for the lovely comment, some more photos to come of our trip. That day was the best day for the weather so we chose well..Glad you like the bird photos..
      Amanda xx

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  11. How incredible to see puffins, let alone the other incredible birds too! Wonderful photos!

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    1. Thanks Amy , it's nice to see something you have often seen on the TV and to get so close too, they have got use to the hundreds of visitors they get every day.
      Amanda xx

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  12. What a superb trip, Amanda. I lived (and studied) in Newcastle - have been to Lindisfarne many times ... but have yet to visit the Farne Islands themselves. Superb photos - and those Puffins are my highlights!

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    1. Thanks Caroline, we had a wonderful time, we did go to Newcastle one day to meet a friend just out of the town, went in on the train. At first I was a little disappointed with the place not what I was expecting but by the end of the day I was warming to the place. Wish I had read up on what to see, as there was more to see..perhaps I will go back for another visit one day.
      If you get chance take the boat trip out to the Islands, you get so close to the birds and the smell !!
      Amanda xx

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  13. A lovely and informative post with some beautiful photos. I would love to go to the Farne Islands having seen so much about them in different programmes. It must be a great time of year to go with the chicks around.

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  14. Just like on the telly! Wow, what an awesome experience and your puffin photos are just AMAZING! xx

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  15. Thanks Wendy and Mandy for the comments, you would both love staying here, It's a very special place...
    Amanda xx

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  16. The Farne Islands are a special place aren't they and you have captured so many superb photos of the wonderful birds and wildlife which breed on these islands. Of course everyone loves Puffins but the photos of the Shags were great to see, you have certainly captured the beauty of these sometimes neglected sea-birds. Also great to see my favourite sea-bird, the Fulmar, also included amongst all the other avian stars, I think they are such beautiful and graceful birds :-)

    Best wishes and apologies again for the lateness of my comments :-)

    PS. I hope your new binoculars which you bought for the holiday (if I remember correctly) proved to be worth every penny :-)

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