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Inner Farne – Northumberland, England – Day 4 – 2022

On our 4th day in northern England, the seas were again too high for the morning boat out of Seahouses.  So our afternoon trip to Inner Farne would be our only birding for this day!

We once again had to take the 2-hour boat ride around the Farne Islands so were happy once we landed on Inner Farne, this time with no added adventures (see Day 1).

Our Visit

As we motored around the islands, I thought about what I wanted to look for during this one-hour visit.  I wanted to try getting some more puffins with sand eels in their beaks as they flew by,  look into some of the puffins’ burrows hoping to see a puffin chick, look for some pair behavior, and look for any other chicks.  That is a lot for one hour but I move fast!  LOL!

The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot more Arctic Tern chicks.  These nests are all around the “entrance” to the island so you cannot avoid them.  And with the chicks, the adults were even more aggressive in protecting the nests.  I was pecked many times while getting the following images!

All of the images below were made with my Nikon D850 with my Nikon 200-500mm lens.

 

One large and Several Small Arctic Tern Chicks and an Adult

 

Older Arctic Tern chick.

 

The Sandwich Terns were nesting away from the walkway more into the center of the island.

Sandwich Tern chick and adult.

 

There are several gull species nesting on Inner Farne.   The Black Headed Gulls had nests here and there!

 

Black Headed Gull chicks.

 

As I reached the area where the puffins have their burrows, I saw this pair that had popped up above the foliage.

Pop Up Puffins!

 

I checked out the burrows that had some light shining into them.  I did not see any chicks but I did catch a few adults peering out!

Atlantic Puffin peering out of its burrow.

 

At this point on the walkway, I realized that there were many puffins flying perpendicular to my position.  I could follow them with my long lens from my left to my right in a straight shot.  Occasionally one would fly the other way and sometimes right toward me.  Puffins fly so fast that I did not worry if they had anything in their beaks or not, I used the “Spray and Pray” method, which is required for fast-flying birds!

Turning Puffin – they use their feet to slow down

 

Puffin with a beak full!

 

Left-flying puffin – for some reason, for me, catching these left-flying birds was a lot harder than the ones flying to the right!

 

Almost head-on shot – this is harder as the plane of focus is changing quickly.

 

From there I turned to the outer cliffs to find some “pair” behavior.  The Razorbills, in amongst the Guillemots, were showing some interesting pairing movements!

Razorbill Pair – Synchronous Head movements 1

 

Razorbill pair – synchronous head movement 2

 

Razorbill Pair – Synchronous head movement 3

 

The Shags were also showing some pairing behavior.

Shag Pair

 

Our time on the island was getting short, so as I walked back toward the boat landing area I took a few more images.

Oystercatcher on the nest.

 

Arctic Tern and Chick

 

Arctic Tern in Flight

 

That was another great hour on Inner Farne!  Each time I came back with more interesting images but each time I realized I had not seen and caught everything yet!

I recommend the boat trip out to Inner Farne.  If you can go more than once I highly recommend that!  For a bird photographer, once or even twice, is not enough!  I am looking for more than simple portraits…

The boat service we used was Billy Shiels, but there are several others.    They normally go out of Seahouses Harbor from May through July but be sure to check with the National Trust to make sure they are letting people on the islands.

Click on any image to see a larger version OR visit my galleries to see and purchase prints and other items with these and many additional images: Gallery Link –  Inner Farne Islands

My next blog will be Day 5 with another visit to Inner Farne and Seahouses cliffs.

That is all for now!

Lynn

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