Islands Of The North East Farne Islands And Bass Rock June July 2019

Puffins on lookout

Puffins greet us on our arrival on The Farne Islands, Northumberland.

Our annual trip to Northumberland and the Scottish Borders was a huge success again with so many birds enjoyed.

We collected Becky, Mo and Dennis from their Llandudno B&B then Sue from near Chester, our other guests Louise and Julia, were meeting us up north as they were already on their holidays. First stop on the way north was at RSPB Saltholme Nature Reserve where we enjoyed lunch over-looking the pool where Common Terns and Sand Martins were nesting. The feeders at the reserve were busy and we had great close views of Tree Sparrows and Stock Doves.

Little ringed Plover port 1

We enjoyed lovely views of Little Ringed Plovers from the hides.

We took a walk down to the hides, over-looking more pools and enjoyed watching Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Little-ringed Plovers and Common Sandpiper. Plenty of wildfowl here too including Wigeon, Teal and Pochard.

Further north, and into Northumberland, we stopped at Cresswell on the coast where we watched a Spoonbill. Just north up the coast, at Druridge Pools we looked for a very rare bird indeed, a drake Biakal Teal. As we arrived other birdwatchers were leaving, the news was not good, no sign of the Baikal Teal. As we were here we thought we might as well walk down to the water and have a look. Plenty of birds here to enjoy, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, two Ruff and a lovely black Spotted Redshank. Then Alan spotted a duck flying in that looked interesting but it was only in view briefly and landed out of sight, frustrating. But we kept scanning and then there was the Biakal Teal! It swam into view close to where Alan had seen the mystry duck land. Through the Leica telescopes we had great views of this smart looking, and very rare, duck. A new bird for all, not often we see a new bird for the world in the UK!

As we left we stopped to watch a lovely Little Owl on the end of a building, perched on a window-sill, wonderful to see.

Reaching our lovely Inn at Lowick, the Black Bull, we met up with Louise and Julia, who had already found the bar. The rooms here are beautiful and we relaxed before dinner.

Puffin on island Norway

You can never see enough Puffins, ever, even on Puffin packed Farnes!

Day two and we set for The Farne Islands, a short drive to Seahouses and we parked near the quay. We were soon heading out of harbour towards the islands on our boat Glad Tidings four. Eider duck, with their small young, were in the harbour allowing close views. Once away from the shelter of the harbour it was a bit choppy but plenty to see as Gannets, Kittiwakes and our first Puffins whizzed past. Our boatman was able to take us very close to the cliffs to enjoy amazing close up views of the breeding seabirds, Common Guillemots and Razorbills packed the cliffs, Kittiwakes were also here along with Shags and a few Puffins. Atlantic grey seals basked on the rocky islands looking very chilled out indeed and barely looking up at our boat.

On shore we found ourselves surrounded by seabirds! A wonderful adventure, to walk so close to so many wild birds so unconcerned by our presence, everyone should visit these islands at least once. We watched Puffins coming and going to their nesting burrows just feet away from us and running the gauntlet of Lesser black backed Gulls determined to steal the poor Puffins fish. We also marvelled at huge numbers of Common Guillemots, masses of Razorbills, lots of Kittiwakes, Shags many with fluffy young and nesting Rock Pipits. All to soon it was time to head back to the boat to transfer to Inner Farne.

As soon as we landed we were surrounded by Arctic Terns! An amazing experience to be so close to these super birds, literally nesting on the path. The terns were not so pleased to see us and dive-bombed us to try and keep us away from their nests and young. Some of the Arctic Terns were keen to let us know that they really didn’t like us, pecking our heads and even drawing a drop of blood or two from Alan’s bare head! Sometimes the terns even landed on our heads and had a free ride, just wonderful to enjoy wild birds so close. Thousands of Puffins also make Inner Farne their home and we soaked up the views of these oh so wonderful seabirds. A puffling, a juvenile Puffin, peered out of one of the many nesting burrows, a rare chance to see one as they live underground and leave at night. We ate our picnic lunch watching Puffins all around us and watching the sky turn dark! With the lower light the Puffins behaviour changed and large flocks took to the air and circled low over the island. As we headed back towards the quay it began to rain, luckily most of us had heeded the travel tips and had packed water-proofs. At the quay we watched Turnstones and Knot as we waited for the boat to take us back to Seahouses and the mainland.

As we drove back to the Black Bull we stopped to watch a Barn Owl hunting over a field in broad daylight, always a thrill to see this gorgeous bird.

Here is a comment from Julia about this trip "Huge thanks to Ruth and Alan....what a fabulous way to spend time, birding,whatever your ability...( mine is pretty limited..!) Northumberland is an amazing place to visit and made even more special with their expert"

Please check back soon for more of our adventures.

Please email us here to arrange your very own Birdwatching Trip…..

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you soon!

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