Saturday, 5 July 2014

Back to Earth, Back to Patch and Back to the Farne Islands

After my recent exciting trip to Hungary it didn’t take long to get back into normal routine and I managed a quick look down by the lake.  Whilst the younger pair of Great Crested Grebes failed to produce young that survived more than a few days, the long established pair I believe produced five young, but I’m told that only three survive.  Although when I took a look I could only find two youngsters.  The Mute Swans had until recent days lost all but two of the cygnets.  I understand some have died from natural causes.  A pity as they had reached a decent size.  Both Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler have been heard from the reed-beds.

26th June.  Today saw me visiting the Farne Islands on a day tour with Marie, Sam and Mark.  This had been arranged for sometime.  Arriving in Seahouse bright and early we found that landing on Staple Island was going to be impossible, so the trip was delayed until 11.30am.  We spent the time in the sun along by Stag Rock.  Very few birds about apart from mergansers, and auks and terns at sea, but an enjoyable walk all the same.

Eider chick.  Seahouses harbour.
I actually think we got a very decent deal from Billy Shiels as the cost of the trip was reduced to £20, although we still spent a couple of hours on the sea and rounded Staple Island before spending three plus hours on Inner Farne and returning to Seahouses after 5.00pm where of course we had excellent fish and chips.  No, we didn’t see the Bridled Tern on this occasion and neither did we see many twitchers, however Inner Farne held too many folk for my liking and it was perhaps this that made photography far more difficult than last year.  Some of the antics from people near to the Arctic Terns left much to be desired.  OK, I accept youngsters getting excited and its part of the experience for them and I as much as anyone likes to see the general public getting involved with wildlife, but when you see grown men and women waving there arms about and waving sticks and goodness knows what else in the airs whilst running around like frightened rabbits (it was a minority) I do think it a bit OTT.  It isn’t a theme park guys!  They’re terns for goodness sake, not chemical weapons!  It would be easy to stand on chicks if you don’t take care and one bloke who barged through, knocking one of the marker posts over, almost did without realising!   That said we did have a great day and I may well be back before the season is over and it was the small minority who behaved in such a manner.  I spoke to one or two holidaymakers for whom a trip to the Farnes was a first and they seemed to have coped with the Arctic Terns without resorting to silly behaviour.


The ahhhhhh factor

Arctic Tern
3rd July.  Today saw me at the NWT/NHSN Photography Awards night.  Not to pick a prize up I hasten to add, although on my list of things to do is to at least get an image short listed in the future.  It may mean investing a few quid.  No, no, not in bribes, but for new equipment. :-)  A very nice evening with a few familiar faces being spotted in the audience.  I’m pleased to say that Sam was on the list of judges this year.  The winners in some cases would not have been my choice, but it is simply down to individual taste I guess.  There was some very good quality images produced.  I felt it a pity that shortlisted entries on display had not been printed off onto better quality paper as they were in my opinion not shown off well, but I accept it is likely to be a matter of cost.  A very good evening.



  1. A great day at the Farnes. My first visit in a long while, despite many plans to get back there, lol.

    1. Pity about being unable to land on Staple Mark, but that is a common problem and didn't spoil the day at all. I remember as a small child going to the Farnes and being unable to land at all and just remaining on the sea which was in itself still a great experience, giving me my first recollection of Grey Seals. I'd rather not remember how long ago that was!!!

  2. An excellent day on the Farnes! (can you have a bad day on the Farnes?)
    Remind me to take a large stick to keep the Terns away next time or is that take a large stick to keep people away from the Terns?

    1. Maybe a large stick with a sharp point would be appropriate for some of the people concerned Sam. :-) No you can't have bad day on the Farnes. Brian.

  3. Yes only two GC Grebe young now Brian, the third was a bit of a runt, rarely got fed and often picked on by its siblings. I was not suprised it did not survive.

    1. I've been away so missed much of the recent GCG goings on Brian, Good that two have survived and kept the lake in the production of Great Crested Grebes charts. I was sure I had only found two. Brian.