Posted by: mynaturaldiary | June 20, 2011

A calm day in the Farne Islands

A trip to the Farne Islands, under the kindly smile of the Zephyrs gave a sunny afternoon and flat seas…

On Inner Farne, the Arctic Tern chicks were running around. Their parents are very protective towards their young and take no prisoners with the visitors.

On the ground they still look  graceful.

But it’s in the air that they are magnificent.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

The Island is also home to Sandwich Terns. These birds have larger, thinner wings than Arctic Terns and black, with yellow tipped bills.

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

There are also Common Terns on the island. These look similar to Arctic Terns, with a red bill but a black tip, shorter tail feathers and longer legs.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Fulmars glide effortlessly across the islands with their stiff wing action which marks them out in the sky from other gulls.

They have a tube nose, which is prominent in the next few photos.

It’s in the air that they look their best as they wheel around. This one is about to land, since he has his feet down.

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

Lesser black-backed gulls were all over the isles, robbing other sea birds where it can, especially Puffins.

Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

In the far distance was a Greater black backed gull.

Great Black Backed Gull (Larus marinus)

And also Black headed gulls.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Kittiwakes and their chicks were present.

Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)

Shags and their chicks were also on all the islands.

The chicks were covered in down and they pant in the warm air to lose heat.

Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)

Guillemots fly through the air.

The top of Staple Island is covered in Guillemots, together with a few Bridled Guillemots, with their white eye ring pattern.

You can see the Bridled Guillemot pattern in these photographs.

Guillemot (Uria aalge)

The two birds behind the Bridled Guillemot in the picture above are Razorbills.

Razorbill (Alca torda)

Of course, the picture postcard delight of the Farne Isles are Puffins.

Puffin (Fratercula arctica)

They are everywhere. In the air,

They zoom across the sky in their multitude.

And they land on the island where their burrows and their young are.

On the ground they waddle across the grass and into their burrows, laden with fish.

All those fish provide a tempting target for the unwary Puffin.

but most of the birds manage to get down their burrows unscathed.

Out at sea were Grey Seals.

Grey Seals (Halichoerus grypus)

See you again next year…

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