Friday, 1 August 2014

What a 'Tern' out!

On the 27th of July me and my Dad headed of to the Farne Islands for the first time. We were really  excited as we have always wanted to go there. At around 11:30am we arrived at our hotel in Seahouses and more or less straight away we headed of to get a boat to the Farnes.

At first our boat took us around some of the Islands were we got close views of Puffins, Kittiwakes, a few Guillemots, Eiders, Seals and we managed to spot a few cracking Purple Sandpipers in amongst some rocks on the Islands. There was also plenty of Cormorants and Shags on the rocks and flying in close by the boat. At one of the Islands we passed another Purple Sandpiper which showed a little better than the other ones we saw.


Purple Sandpiper
After about an hour on the boat we then went onto one of the Islands. This was absolutely amazing as Arctic Terns were only a few centimetres away from us, it was brilliant to see them up close, we spent a lot of time looking at the Terns as it was just amazing how close they came. We were almost stepping on some of the juveniles as they ran out straight in front of you!

Arctic Terns
We then moved onto a bit where we got nice views of Shags, Puffins, and Kittiwakes. These are probably the best views we have got of all three of these birds so I was really pleased.


After a while on the Island we decided to head back to the boat but we had just enough time to have a look at the Sandwich Tern colony where we got some nice views of them. Plus just as we were about to go a man pointed out a Juvenile Roseate Tern in with the Arctic Tern colony which was good to see.
Sandwich Tern
The Farne Islands was absolutely amazing, it is a place I will be definitely visiting again!
When we got of the boat we grabbed something to eat and then headed of to a little rocky area just next to the Harbour where we hoped for Eider, Waders and hopefully some Terns. When we got there we spotted 2 female Eiders with 2 chicks feeding in very close by the rocks so we went over to take a look, when we got there they had got out of the water and they were resting on the seaweed, we managed to get really close to them. Every time I have seen Eiders they have always been pretty distant so it was brilliant to get to see them up close. There was also a few males offshore.

The Eiders then moved further out to sea so we then went to see what else we could find. We found a little Arctic Tern colony which had about 10 Adults and about 7 juveniles while we were watching them a saw a little Dunlin just drop in behind them where we managed pretty good views of this great bird.
After a while it flew of and then a small group of Sanderling dropped in which was also nice to see. We then moved on to have a look at the other side of the rocky area where we came across an adult Rock Pipit feeding a juvenile, we sat down by some rocks and watched them for a while, it was great to see. It was brilliant to get to see them up close.

Rock Pipit
We also spotted a group of waders which included Ringed Plovers, Redshank, Curlew, Golden Plover. There was also quite a few Common Terns flying around.
On our second day we got up had our breakfast and headed out to see a Little Tern colony at Long Nanny. While we were walking along the beach to the colony we saw huge amounts of Jelly fish washed up on the beach. When we got to the viewing platform we had nice scope views of around 4 Little Terns. There was also a big Arctic Tern colony. There was also several Ringed Plover running around in amongst the Tern colonies.
We then decided to go to RSPB Saltholme on our way back as a White Winged Black Tern was showing well there. When we arrived we firstly had a look in the Phil Stead Hide where we saw a Whimbrel at the back of the scrape. We then went to the visitor centre and one of the staff said to us that the White Winged Black Tern was showing from the Paddy Pool Hide so we went straight over there. As soon as we arrived this cracking bird was on show, it was flying around the lake picking up flies as it did, at a few points it flew right past the hide! It was quite a hard bird to photograph as it flew by really quickly. It was such a nice bird to see and it was one of my best highlights this year. After we went to have something to eat in the Saltholme Caf√© where we saw a Fox on top of the Sand Martin colony, most of the Sand Martins didn't seem to happy but the Fox then ran into the reeds.

White Winged Black Tern
It was a brilliant few days and I will be definitely visiting the Farnes again!


  1. Brilliant review Ellis.
    Pleased you enjoyed it.
    Cracking couple of days ;))

  2. Enjoyed the write up, well done.

  3. wow looks like you had a great time

  4. Great trip report and photo's Ellis , top quality birding mate.