Posted by: mynaturaldiary | June 9, 2009

Inner Farne and its cloud of Terns

Following on from the visit to Staple Island, the boat day trip made its way to Inner Farne . En route we passed some Grey Seals, seen in the water and basking in the sun on the rocks.

060109#1

060109#2

060109#15

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Clambering on the rocks by the seals were some Turnstones

060109#85

Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Crossing between the islands, I caught sight of a magnificent seabird, the Gannet. These appeared singly and in small groups.

060109#12

060109#41

060109#86

060109#88

Gannet (Morus bassanus)

Their yellow head is most striking, offest against their white bodies.

Inner Farne Island this time of year is covered in grassland and flowers, home to 3 species of Tern and Puffins. Immediately you land, the Arctic Terns take to the air and attack passerbys.

060109#76

It’s wise to wear a hat and let the birds attack this, rather than your head, as they take no prisoners.

060109#75

When flying in the air, they are quite beautiful to watch.

060109#16

060109#3

060109#4

060109#70

060109#71

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

They nest in isolated pockets on the ground, which is the reason they mob the unweary who fail to look where they are walking. Their bright red beaks are in constrast to the Common Tern, which has a blackened tip.

060109#103

060109#104

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

These also nest singly, rather than in colonies, like the Sandwich Terns.

060109#109

060109#106

060109#107

060109#108

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

Notice the black bill and yellow tip for this tern, which distiguishes it from the other types.

Of course, if sufficiently threatened, all the terns take to the air in a cloud.

060109#111

060109#113

Things calmed down after a bit., and I got to see more Puffins, who live in burrows on the grassy top. They fly in from the sea, laden with sand eels.

060109#28

060109#29

060109#30

060109#84

060109#105

Puffin (Fratercula arctica)

In the grass, I encountered a nesting female Eider, well camouflaged by the side of the walkway.

060109#102

Eider (Somateria mollissima)

There was also Ringed Plover on the island, darting around the Arctic Tern nests.

060109#20

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Overhead, seabirds expected

060109#77

Black headed gull (Larus ridibundus)

and unexpected.

060109#58

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

The Fulmar had the air of an albatross, to which it is related, as he flew with stiff wings. Notice his nose, with the gap in the bill.

On the way back to harbour, more puffins at sea.

060109#43

Finally in the harbour, along the shoreline I spotted an Oystercatcher.

060109#74

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

What a day out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: