My trip to the Farne Islands - 17/07/16
Day trip to the Farne Islands
It’s a sin that although I have lived in the North East of England all my life, I have never visited the Farne Islands, until now. Not long ago, I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity by my girlfriend’s family, to visit these iconic Islands. We headed down to Seahouses: the town which provides boat trips to the Islands - we went with a private company called ‘Serenity’. We soon set off and it didn’t take long for a myriad of birds to appear; Cormorants and Shags were a common sight, flying alongside the boat. Puffins were flying over our heads, bills packed with sand eels – everyone was excited by this, such wonderful/unusual looking birds. There were also the usual sightings of the Black-headed and Herring gulls. It was difficult to get worthwhile photographs on the boat due to the relentless bouncing – most of my shots were either slightly blurred or composed awkwardly – I could perhaps have solved this problem by increasing my shutter speed, but then my images would have been underexposed, and I did not want to increase the ISO (light sensitivity) any higher for quality related reasons. For this reason, I instead enjoyed observing the wildlife through my binoculars.
It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the Island, 15 to 20 minutes or so: this could be completely wrong however as I often lose track of time when looking at wildlife, but it definitely wasn’t too long. As we arrived at the first small island, we were accompanied by a plentiful bunch of Grey Seals; they were clearly used to people, so getting close to them wasn’t an issue. It was humorous to watch one attempt to get onto the rocky Island, thrusting its body, moving head and tail to edge its way on to the rocks. We also came across an adorable seal pup. I’m not sure why they always look so sad but it always seems to have that ‘aww’ effect on me.
The whole site was brilliantly run – owned by the National Trust – there was even a visitor centre for people who had any enquires or wanted to buy merchandise. Rangers were on patrol to ensure the health and safety of both the birds and the people. Interestingly, there was even a small chapel there, dedicated to St Cuthbert. Other landmarks on the Island included the standard lighthouse and a tower. As we moved further along the boardwalk we came across the Puffins once more, swooping in from the sea and landing beside their burrows on land. It’s a classic sight to see their bills jam-packed with sand eels, they catch them by swimming under water with their feet. Apparently they catch about 10 on average but these numbers can reach as far as 60 - unbelievable! Time was moving on and we needed to be back in time for the boat. On my way back I was held up by a family of Sandwich Terns, a notable sighting for a bird lover like myself.
If you would like to know more about the Farne Islands visit their website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/farne-islands
For anyone who would like to buy a printed copy of my photographs, I would be delighted to hear from you.
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