Puffins, Shags and nasty Terns – the Farne Isles!   2 comments

The Farne Isles on the North East coast of England are a haven for Puffin and various other sea birds; and introduced to the prospect of photographing these beautiful birds by a fellow photographer Tesni Ward ( check out her work here: www.tesniward.co.uk  I set off for these wonderous isles early last Sunday morning.

Here’s the day in words and pictures:

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A 3am start in Nottingham saw us arrive well in time for the boat trip from Seahouses out to the isles sailing at 9:30am. We’d booked the ‘all day’ bird trip which was approximately 6 hours; a 2 hour stay on Staple Island and a 3 hour stop on the second island; Inner Farne.


Arriving on the islands a first glance gives the impression the scene is idyllic and tranquil…


… Puffin shuttle from sea to burrow bringing in beak fulls of Sandeels for their chicks…

Puffin Farne Isles_20150621_0609… Shag bask in the warming sunshine…


… Tern protect their chicks and dive bomb visitors as Eider ducks waddle comically around the island…

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… as strange bespectacled seabird watch the day go by.

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But all is not as it seems! In fact to sit and watch for a while is to come to the realisation that this is a never-ending battle for life over death!

The Puffin, exhausted from their fishing trips, return to the skies over the island to face a mob of seaguls…

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… who wait to pounce when the puffin lands to steal their hard-earned Sandeels.


If they succeed too often the Puffin chicks die in the burrows of starvation.

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Safety is a hole in the ground…

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… but those feet just aren’t designed for a 100m sprint!

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Tern relentlessly guard their eggs and then their chicks from gulls and Herring Gulls on the island.

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They stoop and dive to drive off the predators from the chicks hidden in the gorse and grasses.


Sometimes they succeed…

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…. sometimes they don’t.

All in all the visit, as well as offering wonderful photographic opportunities, is quite an eye opener.

Life on the rocks is a day-by-day battle for survival!

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(C) Copyright Drew Smith Photography 2015


2 responses to “Puffins, Shags and nasty Terns – the Farne Isles!

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  1. Love your story of survival Drew! Beautiful DoF. Thank you for day to remember. Carol.


  2. So you can write as well as take photos 🙂 Really nice piece on your visit to Farne Islands, and some awesome images.


    Alison de Villiers

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