At the weekend Laura and I had our now annual trip to Northumberland. We started on Friday with pleasant, if a bit windy, weather, and pootled about Bamburgh for a bit, where we watched sandwich terns and eiders, as well as distant guillemots. After checking in at our B&B at Beadnell, we had a quick walk on the bay there and saw the usual little terns and arctic terns in the tern colony there.
Saturday was a scorcher! We started out with a trip to Amble, where there were some very obliging eiders in the harbour…
…while we waited for the boat to Coquet Island. On the way out there we encountered large groups of puffins flying overhead, as well as the occasional guillemot and cormorant.
When we got to Coquet we saw more sandwich and arctic terns, plus many common terns, and the species I’d gone there specifically to see – roseate tern. A cracking species, which was surprisingly easy to spot among the throng.
We decided to go on for boat trip number two, to the Farnes, but disaster struck and the car shuddered to an almost halt on the way, with a big scary warning light blinking on the dashboard and a peculiar smell drifting from the engine. Laura managed to limp it to Seahouses, and we were lucky enough to find a garage which was willing to fix it, but it was by this time too late for a Farnes trip. Ah well, there’s always Sunday, we thought. While stranded we loaded up with chips, and I spent some time scoping the Farnes from the shore, picking out a few puffins and razorbills in the sea.
Sunday arrived, and despite the gorgeous day beforehand a thick mist hung over the coast. We started the day with a walk to Low Newton, which was fairly uneventful, and to be honest a bit cold! We did find a gannet drifting around on the sea close to the shore, though…
We decided we would give the Farnes a go after all, despite the weather, and we had a rather bleak trip out in the fog, although it’s always good to be surrounded by seals, auks, terns and the rest as you go out. As we got to Inner Farne, the rain started, and we ended up getting quite drenched. Running the gauntlet of the pecky arctic terns, we made it to the cliffs to see some rather damp, depressed-looking seabirds, before spending much of the rest of the time on the island sheltering in the National Trust shelter!
There were plenty of nice baby birds on show, though, in fact more chicks than I remember seeing on any of my previous visits there.
So very much a weekend of two halves, with the great British summer proving itself to be the strange and frustrating beast it always does! It has to be said though that despite the car trouble and the grim weather on Sunday, it was still a great weekend, and a trip to the Farnes is always fantastic whatever the weather.