Friday, 30 September 2011


Brambling - change is crippling.

Red Admirals are thinking about calling nit a day and hibernating.

Today is one for elation and contemplation. Change of both sociological and ornithological styles is in the air. Wez, a fellow warden who’s been here from the off, left (as it’s the end of our work here) and as has Jack who departed a week ago.

With this sense of nostalgia hanging in my torso myself and Choccy drove the Zodiac Rib back across Inner Sound on a beautiful sunny, warm morning. We cruised slowly as Black Tern has been reported and as we did so our trajectory met a crippling juvenile Long-tailed Skua which flew over our bow, all of 5ft away from our faces – WOW! We’ve been lucky to see about 9 this autumn in unconventional seawatching conditions and this close fly in southerlies, like our 7 in southwesterlies certainly wasn’t expected!

Pintail blur/ass.

We returned to find more Pintail were roaming Inner Farne (after my 10 t'other day) with a female settling on the pond briefly enough for me to cock up photographing it (above).

The wintery feel continued with 1 Snipe, 8 Redwing (constantly pursued by a beefy female Sparrowhawk), 1 Song Thrush, 1 Redpoll and 3 Brambling turning up while other bits included 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Skylark and fly through Manx Shearwater, Red-throated Diver and Kestrel.

This Kestrel hacked through low looking rare.

The Sparrowhawk stoops towards panicking Turdus..(thrushs)

Above and below: Redwing. Can you see it?

mmm Brambling.
Nopt often you see 2 Brambling and a Chiffchaff on the same bird table.

Despite the changes occurring across the islands the most noticeable and ironic has to be the high temperature which have brought some interesting (if not rare) moths. But more on that tomorrow!
Udea ferrugalis - fesh in from Europe (maybe) on these warm winds.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dawn til Dusk

Todays highlight came in our eyes when a juvenile Black Tern drifted through Inner Sound while some Pinkies (Pink-footed Geese) gabbered north. The usual bits lingered and here's some pics as we're celebrating resident warden Wez's time on these merry islands (emphasis on merry). Here's some pictos:

Dawn over the Wides

A lovely piar of Whinchats graced the islands this morning.

Communal cooking.

Birds are breeding still! This Mallard had 10 ducklings yesterday - parenting FAIL.


Dusk - beautiful.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Gavia's Delight

Now for those who are into their Latin you’ll know the Gavia family consist of Divers - large, ungainly but beautiful birds that can and will cripple in situ (cripple being an unpolitically correct term for very nice birds that make you weak at the knees). They have featured heavily in recent days and today conformed to this trend. But some random waffle first.

Low tide with Inner Farne, the Wide-Opens and Knoxes all connected.

Southerly winds and big tides dominate life at the moment which makes birding pleasant but generally unproductive. Early morning rounds produced ‘the usual’ flyover Redpoll along with some Linnet. The Robin and perhaps a new Wren were tweeting on their Blackberry’s in the Veg Patch while Wally the Willow Warbler was bouncing about in the Lighthouse compound. Wheatear numbers seem steady with 6 today.

It's autmun therefore it's a Robin.

Starlings have been numerous but are now reduced to 'a few'. Loving the Lighthouse.

It all kicked off on the second rounds with a nice group of 10 Pintail heading North low which I failed to get anyone on (primarily as they, like so many birds, dipped behind a ridge and never reappeared!).

Then whilst myself Andy  the ‘Choccy Bear’ were seawatching seeing nothing I got bored and started checking some flyover Linnet for Twite, Coccy shouted “’s not a Red-throat!” I run back and get on it as it slowly flaps away south. Bummer shite views, but the Chocmeister nailed the black throat and structural difference to clinche Gavia artica – Black-throated Diver. A new bird for him and Farnes tick for me!

Chiffchaff looking buff - literally.

The mornings productivity dissolved into a beautiful but quiet afternoon where a lovely Chiffy, more Peregrine antics and a flyover Bonxie kept us entertained.

What a rum bugger. Peregrine doing what it does best - fly.

And a Bonxie.

And to top it off here’s a Farne sunset:


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Old Man Westerly

Even in west winds these stonking Wheatear are keeping us entertained.

Guess what direction the wind was today…that’s right, south!..well Sou’westerly but whats new?!? It’s been an autumn of SW winds and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t turned easterly all September!

But as we’ve been discussing, despite unfavourable weather the Farnes has dominated on scarcities and birding here is always epic even when it’s quiet.

Today saw a ‘classic’ selection of migrants across the land. A walk early morning produced flyover Redpolls while a flock of 46 Linnet was the largest so far. A seawatch of Inner Sound saw me get bored (due to lack of anything…apart from 2 nuggy Bonxies heading north) and go find a couple of Chiffchaff and the Linnets, missing a Great Northern Diver in the process! Shiza!

Wheatear, and migrants in general love the 'blue rope' which makes finding them easier!

Wheatear numbers were up to 9 and the confiding immature Willow Warbler (below) was still hanging out with it’s wang out in the Lighthouse:

Can you see it's wang?

Other bits today included single Shelduck south, Red-throated Diver north and 10 Swallows southwest.

Finally one of our resident Peregrine (or Peggers as they’re affectionately known) was flushed from a fresh Feral Pigeon kill – now that’s what I call top down pressure!

Typical crappy pic. But hey it's a Peregrine ish.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Long-tailed Icterine Goose

So, hello. Again. How are you? Good.

It’s been a while so here’s what’s been happening on the frantic world of the Farnes..(oh and some my mates who aren’t birders have asked me to explain some of my wack terminology so I will!).

Okay so it’s been a while again. And I apologise profusely for the lack of updates to anyone who’s bothered about my activities…BUT it is representative of my lack of laptop time – ie I’ve been out birding ‘n shiz.

So birdwise since my last posting it’s been a rollercoaster! Ups and downs, storms and calm spells. I’ll start with the storms (where I left off).

Just after my last posting a major westerly (sigh) storm hit us. Now to those not ‘in the know’ westerlies on the east coast push birds away, basically we want east winds to bring stuff in from Europe or push seabirds closer to shore. Despite this some lovely Carduelis finches in the shape of 2 Redpoll and 1 Siskin appeared. One Redpoll had deformed feet and was later captured, then released and seemed okay.

Lesser Redpoll in the hand. Pity bout his legs...and feet...

Since then the winds have eased, and picked up, and eased etc..blah. During a spell of increasing winds a stonking 7 Long-tailed Skuas passed north through Staple Sound, and seawatchers wet dream (ahem). These birds breed up in Scandinavia and are generally pretty awesome.

An interlude between stuff happening produced a beautiful little wader in the form of Curlew Sandpiper:

Juvenile Curlew Snadpiper - Mega!

Since then we’ve had a pretty quiet period til some mist hit and bam! A spanking Icterine Warbler (a classic east coast reverse/drift migrant – where it migrates the wrong way or drifts over the North Sea in favourable east winds) was found by Ciaran among a smattering of common and scarce migrants including the first Brambling of the autumn.

Icky as they're known. Icterine Warbler showing well.

Today brought mega wildfowl (duck and geese) action with good numbers of Pinkies (Pink-footed Geese) moving south with a total of 622 south and rising. Other birds seen have been a very late Common Swift (usually pass through in August), Tree Pipit, Wheatear 6, Robin, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Rook 10E while the big’uns or non-passerines involved Grey Plover 2, knot 15, Dunlin, Purple Sand, Curlew 99 as well as Teal, Wigeon and Common Scoter passing through.

Pinkies and a rainbow - Psycogoosic

Inner Farne light gettin' goosed.

Jamie getting his shot.

Choccy Bear wondering where the geese are (look above him hehe!)

Oooo and there’s moths too:

Frosted Orange was new for the year.

Warden life is chilling out abit as we catch up on jobs we couldn’t sort while the breeders were here as well as lashings of birding to record all these sexy migrants.

The Farnes from the south

Grey Seal loving life