Saturday, 7 June 2014

Farne Islands - part 3 (not actually the Farne Islands)

There was time before the boats sailed (and also on Friday when we drove home) to go for a bit of a walk. On days 1 and 2 I walked a little way along the shore northwards, and on day 3 I headed off down the lanes from the farm and eventually ended up on the beach a bit further along. The countryside around here is lovely,  mostly farmland with a mix of grazing and arable, with the occasional copse and hamlet and lots of photogenic stone walls separating the fields. The beach is rocky at Seahouses but becomes sandy further on with an extensive dune system behind.

First, though, I spent a little time on the balcony of the bunkhouse and photographed the Swallows and House Martins as they flew by.

Like everywhere else, Seahouses is full of noisy young Starlings at the moment, chasing their parents for food or, like this one, making tentative attempts to feed themselves.

More Starlings. A lot more. These were feeding among the dunes.

And over the dunes, this rather marvellous view.

Collared Dove, striking a strange pose as it sets off on its rising and falling display flight.

Linnets were common around the fields, as were Goldfinches, Chaffinches, House Sparrows and Yellowhammers.

There's one of those pretty walls I mentioned, this one adorned with a Meadow Pipit.

And a baby Stonechat, examining the sky for - I don't know what. It was sufficiently occupied that I could get quite close to it.

There were gratifyingly high numbers of Skylarks around here. Other farmland birds present in abundance included Rooks, Pied Wagtails and Common Whitethroats.

Only the last morning was warm and sunny enough for butterflies. I saw several Green-veined Whites, and to my joy a few Wall Browns, which actually posed with wings open. One of them was even on a wall (though that one had virtually a whole wing missing so I have refrained from posting its photo).

One more insect - a Two-spot Ladybird which appears to be engaged in some kind of ladybird extreme sport.

There were plenty of Eiders along the shore. The non-existent crop factor of the D700 obliged me to try to find compositions with the bird not very big in the frame.

I didn't bring the landscape lens on my last walk (a decision I regretted once I reached the beach) but used the 300mm lens for some landscape-ish pics including this one.

On that same day, I was happy to find a Brown Hare in one of the fields opposite the coast road.

There was a Sand Martin colony in the undercliff of the beach. I spent a little while with them but didn't manage any really sharp photos.

Last pic now, taken on the last morning as I returned to the farm, a Willow Warbler which I'd heard singing every day but hadn't managed to see properly until I got the viewing angle through the leaves just right.

1 comment:

Phil said...

A great trio of reports and some lovely pics Marianne.
Pleased it all went well and how interesting that the Terns appear to be benefiting from some human activity. I was concerned about our presence on the Treshnish Isles among the Puffins recently, but hopefully the same would apply there. The Puffins, it has to be said, are much more welcoming than the Terns seem to be!