Like I said in my previous post, after ringing all the Barn Owl chicks, the following day Sue and I set off for a few days in Northumberland, staying at a village called Beadnell, just a couple of miles south of Seahouses. It's and area of the UK I've never visited before but why I just don't know - it's such a beautiful part of the country. Our aim was to visit the Farne Isles - an archipelago of Isles about one and half miles off the north east coast of Britain, where there are Arctic and Common Tern colonies, along with Puffin, Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes breeding in large numbers and with a few Shag mixed in there as well. We also wanted to see what else there was to do on the north east coast. After an uneventful journey up the A1, we arrived in good time for us to explore the Farnes on the Sunday afternoon, taking a small catamaran tour around the islands before landing for an hour or so on Inner Farne which is owned by the National Trust. ( we went back again on the Tuesday and managed to arrange to stay an extra hour with the boat company we used as they weren't fully booked). What a place! Although you have limited access on the island, having to stay mainly to the board walks, you are surrounded by hundreds of breeding birds - all within arms' reach! You are advised to wear a hat which you definitely need, as the first 300 yards is where the Arctic Tern are nesting and it's like running the gauntlet! - you get dive-bombed, landed on, pecked regularly - as well as getting pooped on!! Despite all of this, it's absolutely amazing and brilliant! Tern chicks are almost underfoot in some places, adult birds are sitting on eggs along the side of the boardwalk and chicks ranged from a few days old to fledglings. it was amazing to watch the Puffins coming in off the sea with their beaks full of sand eels who had their own gauntlet to run as they tried to avoid being harassed by Black-headed and Herring Gulls who were trying to take the food off of them.
Below are some images of other birds we saw on our tour of the islands before we landed on Inner Farne.
Not only is there fantastic birdlife to view, there is also a large Grey Seal colony, and,as with the birds, the boat skipper gets you in for some real close-up views of these inquisitive animals
Though eider Duck breed on the Farne Isles, as soon as they can, they bring their ducklings across to the mainland. These were in the harbour at Seahouses. There were some drakes about, but they were too far out to get an image.
In between our visits to |Inner Farne, we decided to visit Holy Island (Lindisfarne) on the Monday for a look around. We drove over the causeway, arriving at 10.30 am; we only had a couple of hours or so to check out the priory and walk around the village before we needed to leave for the mainland, as the tide would be returning at 13.15, and we would have been stuck then until 22.00 before the causeway would have been clear to cross. On our way back, we stopped at The Grace Darling museum in Bamburgh which we had been recommended to visit; Grace Darling was a young Victorian heroine of 23 years who, along with her father, rowed out over 400 yards from Longstone Lighthouse, in very high seas, to rescue nine people who had survived a shipwreck in the night, and were stranded on the rocks. She was the first woman to be presented with a silver medal for gallantry by the RNLI. She sadly died from consumption just three years later. The museum is well worth a visit.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our trip to Northumberland, and as always, any comments are welcome.