Puffins of the Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a group of Islands lying off the Northumberland Coast in the North East of the UK, probably known worldwide for the heroic rescues by Grace Darling. From the end of April to the end of July Thousands of seabirds make these islands home during the breeding season.

Probably the bird that most visitors come to see is the Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), known locally as the “Tommy Noddy”. The Puffin is from the Auk family of birds and spends most of its life out to sea only coming to land during the breeding season, in fact chicks don’t come back to land for the first 2 years of their life. Puffins on the Farne Islands can number upto nearly 60,000 in good years when there are plenty of eels around.

Adult birds are about 32 cm (12.5 in) in length, with a 53 cm (21 in) wingspan and a weight of about 380 g (13 oz), they dive for sand eels which are they main diet and often bringing back 5 to 10 eels, at a time, in their beaks back to the burrows. On their way back they have to run the gauntlet of large Black-Backed Gulls who mob the Puffins and try to steal their meals. Puffins are fast agile flyers but when they land they often have a short run to get down their burrow which is the time that the gulls attack.

The Farne Islands are a Jewel in the UK’s crown for bird photography, not just for Puffins but many other species such Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Roseate Tern, Shag, Razorbills, Cormorant and Guillemot.

Boat tours go over daily to the islands, during the breeding season, from Seahouses and the most respected boat tour operator is Billy Shiel and his family who operate the Glad Tidings boats.  His boat tours are superb, giving a trip around the islands, with full commentary, before landing on either Inner Farne, Staple Island, Longstone Island or a mixture of the above depending on the tour you booked.

The above photograph was taken on the 13th July 2010 with a Nikon D3, Nikon 500VR lens and Nikon 1.4x TC. The iso was set to 400, the shutter speed was 1/250 and the aperture was f7.1.

The above photograph is available to purchase, as a signed print from my website, click here for a direct link.

I have a gallery of Puffin photographs, also available to purchase. If you would like to take a look click here

Thanks for taking the time to read the post.

Until next time, bye for now

Best wishes

Colin Carter ARPS


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