Monday 27 June 2011

Northumberland - day 3 - Farne Islands

Boat trip booths at Seahouses
Sea columns of Staple Island

Longstone lighthouse

Brownsman island cottage

Disembarking on Staple Island

Puffin burrows on Staple Island, looking over to Brownsman island

Staple Island, northeast side
Bird life on the cliff edge

Entry to Inner Farne (The Wideopens in the background)
For the birds or the humans?


Thinning vapours, sunny morn — drive the stunning coastal route to Seahouses — join the queue at Billy Shiel's booth — the surprisingly basic Glad Tidings III departs, we board the slightly less basic Glad Tidings IV — we've never seen so many long lenses in one place — the first puffin dips beneath the water, patches of guillemots scatter — a powerful waft of ammonia as we approach Staple Island — a panorama of grey cubist rocks splattered white — guillemots, shags, kittywakes and other gulls sit on stone shelves making a collective din — bobbing heads of grey seals in Brada bay, Longstone — third in line to dock at Staple Island, beneath a canopy of puffins — bedlam: the human life is as frenetic as the bird life — no quarter is given in securing territory for the best shot — within touching distance, shags pant, preen their fluffy young, arrange the nest, call out — the eyes of sand eels (clamped in the beak of a puffin) glint like a row of sequins — sandy burrows among white flowering sea campion — cross the lumpy Staple Sound to Inner Farne — lushly vegetated rise to old buildings — a flurry of arctic terns swoop to feed their chicks either side of the boardwalk — decorative tail feathers fan as its red beak pecks at my head — sun departs, wind rises — cold, tired and jaded — a black backed gull swoops overhead with a chick hanging from its beak — good take away chips and tea from Neptune's on a wind blown bench overlooking Seahouses harbour

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