Photographing Puffins for the first time
Went over the the North East coast mid June to a small seaside village called Sea Houses. From here they run daily boat trips over the the Farne Islands where dozens of different species of birds fly to nest and lay their eggs. The Farne Islands are a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland, England. There are between 15 and 20 islands depending on the state of the tide. They are scattered about 1 ¹⁄₂ to 4 ³⁄₄ miles from the mainland, divided into two groups, the Inner Group and the Outer Group
We arrived about 9.00 am for an early sailing but unfortunately the swell was quite rough that day which meant that landing on Staple Island, one of the two Islands was probably not going to happen. About 11.30 the crew from ” The Serenity” boat hire decided it was now safe enough to sail across but instead of visiting both Islands and getting one hour on each, we just visited the Farne Island and got a decent two hour stay ( which was perfect)
The island lays host to many species of birds, Puffins, eider ducks, kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags, Arctic terns and many more.
En route to the Island we were lucky to have porpoises swimming alongside the boat, they are so quick and trying to get a photograph whilst standing on the deck of a boat in very choppy sea was pretty much impossible. On one of the islands there were Seals lazing about in the sun, again another amazing sight just to see them in the wild.
The main attraction of the Farne islands are the Puffins. These little things fly around a great speed, going out to sea gathering food to bring back to the nest, or holes in the grounds as they are. Trying to capture the iconic photo of a puffin flying back to its nest with a mouth full of sand eels was a lot harder than I had anticipated. However, perseverance prevailed and I managed to capture some shots.
Watching these little orange beaked flying bombs land was so entertaining. As they tried to get back into their nests, other species of birds lay in wait for them and if the Puffins did not manage to land pretty much into their hole they basically got mugged by the other birds of their catch.
Apparently Puffins spend all their life out at sea and only come to land to mate and lay their eggs. Whilst they are in mating season their beaks turn this lovely orange colour.
Equipment wise, on the days I took my Canon 5d mkii with my 70mm-200mm lens. My good friend, photographer and youtube vlogger Gary Gough who actually organised the trip lent me his x2 converter so I could actually shoot at 400 mm if needed. Our two hours were soon over and it was time again to head back to the boats. We had to walk through the nesting area of the Arctic terns who were not best pleased with all the visitors and made sure we knew that by them dive bombing you and trying to peck at your head, this is why wearing a hat is recommended on these trips. All in all a brilliant day, I think a return trip will be on the cards again next year. Enjoy the photos.