Fantastic January Day

The morning may have been cold but it was more than compensated for by the winter sunshine and the incredible array of wildlife around the islands. With calm seas and the attention of many birds increasingly turning to looking their best for the coming breeding season we had some superb views of some of the many species that breed on The Farnes. Even before leaving the harbour small parties of Common Eider, the males displaying by throwing back their heads and doing a bit of a body flip were resplendent in black and white, with subtle greens and pinks.

It was hard to take your eyes off the beauty of the Northumberland coastline as we sailed out to The Farnes this morning. Bamburgh Castle was resplendent in the morning light just behind the long sandy beach stretching north from Seahouses, with the snow-dusted Cheviots providing the perfect backdrop as streams of Guillemots moved past.
The Guillemot numbers were simply spectacular this morning, measured in the tens of thousands providing an impressive assembly as they stood on the rocky outcrops and ledges that will see them raise the next generation in the coming months.
The constant movements of individuals between land and sea and the steadiness of the twinned hull Serenity offered some great opportunities for flight photography today.

Whilst Guillemots dominated by sheer force of numbers, other birds around the islands included Fulmars, Shags, a single Razorbill, 2 Peregrines and a good count of over 50 roosting Purple Sandpipers. Some of the Shags were showing early signs of pairing off, displaying and even carrying nesting material.

As always though it’s not just about the birds, January offers perhaps some of the best opportunities to view the Grey Seal colony that can call The Farnes home and they certainly didn’t disappoint today with large numbers hauled out around the islands ‘singing’ as we got close.

The return trip back to Seahouses provided brief views of a small pod of Harbour Porpoises picked up by on-board wildlife guide Keith not too far from the front of the boat.
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