Thursday, 30 July 2009

Farne Isles 7 - Kittiwake

Young Kittiwakes feeding

Head shot

A couple of shots of another sea bird on the Farnes the Kittiwake a really attractive gull with attractive youngsters.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Farne Isles 6 - Puffin Flight

More shots from the Farnes of attempts to get some flight shots.

I found this difficult as they are fairly fast flyers and tracking them till they become a reasonable size in the view finder frequently leads to pictures with wings and bits chopped off. My lens is fairly slow to focus and flight photography is difficult but action shots are so satisfying.

I hope you like these few shots from a good number attempted.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Farne Isles 5 - The bill, the gape, the tongue and the sand eel

The gape

The tongue

Wide open now!

Job done!

Sounds like a good new Bob Dylan track title!

The bill of the Puffin is pretty obvious and unique. The gape is those yellow blobs at the base of the bill as you see in the first picture. The tongue holds the sand eels down in the bill, it goes up into the roof of the mouth and holds down the sand eels, the advantages of this are displayed.

The warden on Inner Farne told us the record apparently is 67 sand eels in one bill (not a lot of people know that), I have no idea how that is known . Perhaps it should be in the Guinness Book of Records as it sounds out of this world!

Farne Isles 4 - Puffin Portrature

A further series of Puffin shots from Staple Island, this time of single Puffins in isolation which I hope you like.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Farne Isles 3 - Puffin family groups

What a great experience a visit to the Farnes is, having read about it and seen great pictures from a number of great photographers does not prepare you for a first visit.

Previously I have seen Puffins at Flamborough and Bempton of course, great places which I recommend but Puffins in large groups allowing people close access as you get on the Farnes is something different.

I was taken with the number of sea birds reeling around the isles as we went out on the boat, the groups of Guillemot stood atop rocks providing great views. Disembark at Staple Island and immediately at the top of the steps are Puffin groups as you get all over this rocky isle similarly with Shags and other birds.

Love the black faced youngster!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Farne Isles 2 - Shag

Preening shots and younger family members.

Farne Isles 1 - Shag

Last Thursday we took the birding trip tothe Farne Isles and had a wonderful experience with birding up close. It is amazing how the occupants of the Isles are so used to people allowing close up shots usually unimaginable in the wild.

My first series is of the Shag, this set concentrating on close up head shots.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Alnmouth Beach - Common Terns

Last Tuesday whilst on holiday we had a slight change from birding to visit Cragside one of our favourites properties.

After a walk in the morning to the lakes, Nelly's Moss North & South we went to look around the house in the afternoon. The property was very busy though and the queses of slow moving people reminded us why we are not so keen these days, give me a quiet beach or reserve anytime.

So we moved onto the coast and parked on the beach car park at Alnmouth after an ice cream I could see Terns diving on the shore line and rushed with the camera to see what was happening.

Terns were fishing on the shore line catching Sand Eels in the kelp at the waters edge, fantastic luck. The first picture gives an idea of the scene, I took lots of shots from a wonderful opportunity.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

Last Monday we visited the beach at Ross just North of Bamburgh, a short walk to the beach from the parking area leads through sand dunes which held a number of butterflies and moths (more later) to another glorious Northumberland Beach.

The beach was empty excepy for a couple bathing when we arrived and held maybe 12 people an hour later. The Sandwich Tern was my first pictures of the holiday and my first of this bird.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Farnes Taster

We have just returned from a few days in Northumberland and yesterday had a memorable first visit to the Farnes Isles. I will be making a good few postings over the next few days and have plenty of shots to process but I wanted to share an initial shot or two of one of the birds we really go to these Isles to get close to the Puffin.
It was great to get close to this bird on Staple Island and watch their antics on Inner Fane using small earth mounds to get air bourne or meekly hop in the air and go round for another go a truly engaging bird.