Thursday, 4 July 2013

Bridled Tern!!! (3rd July)

A long trip up north with Sh4rpy and Dave to the Farne Islands for a tern!  We left in the early hours of the morning, arriving around 8am ish.  We had about an hour on the quay waiting for the boat to finally take us across but in the mean time we contented ourselves with some nice views of Eiders, Rock Pipits and the usual array of distant auks.

overlooking the Farne Islands from Seahouses 

As we finally approached the islands on board St Cuthbert II, the overwhelming smell, sound and sight of the immense sea-bird colony swamped our senses, almost enough for me to forget about our main objective.  However, once landing on the jetty, along with at least another 50 odd others, our search began for the tern.  It had clearly gone fishing as there was no sign for over two hours as the numerous Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills and Arctic Terns entertained us.  Other species included 3 Knot, the odd Turnstone and a Grey Seal hauled itself out on the small beach next to the jetty.  Suddenly, at 11:20 the shout went up from Dave (on the other side of the jetty), "I'VE GOT IT!"  A mad rush to arms as everyone grabbed their closest gear (me being no exception) and thankfully I got straight on the bird!  An absolutely stunning adult BRIDLED TERN, what a mega!!!

Bridled Tern, WOW!!!

Initial views were rather brief and I only got a couple seconds of it in flight before it flew around the other side of the island.  Thankfully, (particularly for Sh4rpy's sake) the bird reappeared behind us in its favoured spot and came to perch in amongst the other terns.  To our immense relief we finally enjoyed good views of the bird, only 20 mins before we had to board the boat and return to the mainland!

goodbye mega

Going back to the events leading up to it's find that afternoon, Dave and Sh4rpy were scanning the sea north of the island watching a skua sp. when Dave suddenly came across the tern as it flew towards the island.  Sh4rpy first mistoke the "I've got it!" shout as he thought Dave was referring to the skua and the couple seconds it took him to realise what the excitement was about (as well having to focus his bins) cost him the bird!!!  Me, on the other hand, standing on the other end of the jetty got on the bird quit quickly as I correctly assumed Dave's shouts were referring to the tern.  A very tense and nerve racking 10 minutes followed as it went out of view.  After all, the car trip back would have been nothing short of a nightmare had Sh4rpy gone back empty handed!  Whilst he blamed me for laughing at his misfortune, (I must stress I was in fact searching desperately for it as we only had another 20 mins left on the island) it returned behind us!  Thankfully, it was a massive relief when all of us finally got treated to excellent views of the Bridled Tern once it came in to land following its circuit of the island.

Sorry Sh4rpy for having to explain that, I just don't want to forget the expression on your face after it flew out of view!!!  Only joking, but thanks once again for all the driving, it was much appreciated!


mostly Arctic but a couple Common Terns as well

female Eider


sea-bird city!

"bridled" Guillemot, one of two birds that I saw on the island

Good bye Farnes!


  1. Nice shot of Ian Lewington there in the penultimate picture!

  2. Cheers Adam! panoramic shots always look great especially in locations such as the Farnes