Monday, 18 June 2012

To the Farnes.

Last week I headed back to Northumberland, after a few weeks in Cumbria, and a campus more dead than a graveyard, it was needed. After seeing everyone back at home, it was time to grab some sleep and up early the following morning for the drive to the Farnes. Sleep never happened, done more tossing and turning than a horse with colic. However, the alarm clock rang, and I was ready within a minute. Cain arrived, and in the car we went. Along the coastal road, the sea looked a bit rough, but nothing too bad, just a bit choppy. However when we arrived at the booking point, we were told that the first trip of the day had been canceled because of the sea, Staple Island is said to be unsafe to land on in choppy waters, no worries though, the boat trip to Inner was still on, and also saved a tenna! Wondered around Seahouses for a bit of food, then moved on to another location around the area while waiting on afternoon trip to arrive. after a number of attempts to find the Beadnell Tern colonies, we finally walked across the sand dunes to a small hut around the banks of Beadnell Bay, Arctic Terns swamped the skies, one of the guys patrolling the site mentioned something about the Little Terns, and being not quite with it yet (legs were awake, brain was still trying to awake, and at one point my eyes were trying to get some REM) what he said went in one ear and out the other.

Got back to the Seahouses, and walked over to the booking point, the area was like walking around Aladdins cave for a camera man. Half of the owners of these cameras and lenses were old, I reckon if i did happen to accidentally snatch and grab, I would be back in Newbiggin by the time then they turned there false hips around to notice. 
So the booking lady, directed us down the harbour, and to our vessel of the day, Glad Tidings. The amount of people waiting to board the boat looked like a scene out of Titanic, and at one point this was after the boat sank. People just hanging from the steps, little old women inches from the water, and the skipper of the boat shouting at everyone, because the majority of people must of left there brains in the cars. After a good 15 mins watching the comical boarding the boat, we were aboard and off the the Farnes. the sea had calmed down a tad. On the boat there were good views of Bamburgh Castle and happily watched a Gannet fly by. 

As we arrived to Inner Farnes, we circled around and the amount of birds on the island was unbelievable. Puffins, Terns, Shags, Kittywakes, Razorbills, Guillemots... QUALITY.

As we landed on the island we gave our entry fees, and off we walked up. 

As we walked up, it was like experiencing World War 1, except instead of dive bombing planes, it was dive bombing Terns. 

Frightened to look up incase i had an eye removed, quickly moved to the top of the hill, thinking that the blitz would be over, however, World War 2 was quickly about to start. An amazing experience. The amount of birds, so close. Puffins could be seen landing, bills full of food, and scurrying in to their burrows, quickly evading the gulls ready to tackle them for the free fish supper. 

As i walked around the pathway to on end of the island many other birds could be seen nesting on the cliff face.

After moving around the island, i decided to walk around the old church, hiding from the Terns, they were on top form.

The 3 hours on the island flew by, we were back on the boat and heading back to the shore. Fantastic day, and a deffo return in the next 3-4 weeks. 

I spent the remainder of the day at home debating whether to return to Cumbria or not. so by 10oclock pm i was packed and driving back to happy human free Newton Rigg Campus. 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Out and About

Finally have a car, and after a week of I've put it to good use. Trying to get out and about to as many places as my petrol budget will allow. 
Recently had a friendly voice tell me of a few places to watch a lovely set of fledged wrens chicks, beautiful to watch. The area is a wildlife hotspot, everything from small birds to passing Otters, and grazing Roe Deer. 

From standing the wild flower meadow, sounds could be heard in nearly every direction, it was like wren paradise.

Nuthatches were also present.

A juvenile dipper was making good use of the stream, flying back and forth, and there seemed to be no fear of my presence.

Song Thrush wandering around eying up the worms.

After an hour or two in the wild meadows. I decided to head to Bassenthwaite lake to watch out around to see if any sighting of the Osprey could be seen. Although i dint see it i did have fun with the local Mallards, who seemed very keen to know what was in my camera bag.

After another few more shifts at work, it was time to head back out, but this time take the camera to work. Started off my walk around Centre Parcs and headed towards the Bird Hide that they have, my first visit there infact, and when i arrived i wasn't disappointed. There was more than enough to keep my shutter button pressed down.

The pigeons were making good use of the bird feeders that where dotted around and catching the odd seed that fell from the many birds that were feeding from it, great tits, coal tits, chaffinches, bullfinches. An often occurrence around the hide was a sparrow hawk flying around at immense speeds and swooping for tit or two.

The Red Squireel that didn't want its photo taken.

Looking for his nuts!

Happily munching away in front of me.

After watching this wood mouse for a while i started to feel sorry it, Every time it tried to venture out of its habitat, it got bullied back in from the "bouncer pigeon".

After a while of waiting around and happily snapping up photos of the red squirrels, the illusive Jay finally turned up. and it made my day!!! hard to believe they are part of the Corvidae family, beautiful birds.

After my little stint at CP, jumped back into the car and headed out to a beck at Cockermouth in search for a Kingfisher........ nice holes in the banks of the river..... but no bird!! =[
I was in the presence of a Pied Wagtail. and later on a Grey Wagtail, nice to see the flash of yellow!

Next stop was Siddick Ponds. Many juvenile blue tits flying around.

Nice to see a good number of Mute swan cygnets.

And the Greylag family.