From all the Farne Islands team, wishing everyone who reads and follows the blog a very
I hope everyone has a great festive period and see you ion the New Year ready for another crazy season on the Farne Islands. Keep on following us!
This Tuesday (22 November) the National Trust are opening up bids for an auction to offer you the opportunity to buy a once in a lifetime experience at one of the Trust’s remarkable places. The Trust, who not only look after built heritage but some of the worlds most significant sites for nature conservation, have put together a number of amazing experiences in order to raise funds for their cause, and to offer people the chance to give their loved ones a really special gift this Christmas.
Simon Lee is a Property Manager for the National Trust and is heading up the initiative, he told us: “This is a chance for people to make somebody’s Christmas! We have some fantastic one-off experiences on offer including the chance to host your own Georgian dinner party at Seaton Delaval Hall. The Hall is an 18th century mansion house designed by Sir John Vanbrugh who also designed Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard, so you could say this is a real chance to step back in time and have your own ‘Downton Abbey’ moment.”
The auction goes live on Tuesday 22 November and has something on offer for all tastes. From romantic gestures including a wedding ceremony at the ancestral home of George Washington or dinner at the top of the first lighthouse in the world to be lit by electricity, to wildlife experiences including a day with the deer warden at Fountains Abbey or an exclusive tour of the seabird and grey seal colonies of the Farne Islands.
The auction is raising funds for the Yorkshire and North East region of the National Trust – the UK’s largest conservation charity - an area rich in diverse landscapes from the Northumberland Coast to the Yorkshire Dales, and including some of the country’s most iconic landmarks including Hadrian’s’ Wall, Fountains Abbey and
Sunday 13th November comments: It’s been a great weekend as everything went with plenty of highlights, except one thing; the weather. With south-easterly winds blowing across the islands with rain on Sunday, it wasn’t the best time to be out visiting the
The Seal colonies have been as active as ever with plenty of new pups being born and bull seals battling for island supremacy. On the bird front we’ve has some noticeable highlights including 19 White-fronted Geese with a good haul of Little Gulls moving south whilst a Water Rail in the gas cage was a bit novel. On a personal note, one of my footy teams;
Highlights: White-fronted Goose 19 in total (3 west at 09:40, one landed on Staple Island on 10:02 and then fifteen west on 11:00), Pink-footed Goose 1 west, Pochard male south, Velvet Scoter 2S, Common Scoter 57N, Red-breasted Merganser 2, Water Rail 1 in the gas cage on Brownsman! Little Auk 13 lingering, Little Gull 116 south (peak count of the year), Short-eared Owl single west, Skylark 11, Black Redstart male lingering, Blackbird 127, Redwing 28, Fieldfare 38, Snow Bunting 4 south and Reed Bunting 2.
It’s fight night on Brownsman. The Grey Seal colonies on the Farnes are buzzing with activity as more and more pups are being born by the day and attentive mothers are protecting the young from the worst of the elements. However it’s not all peaceful as the Bulls have moved in…
Adult male Grey Seals, known as bulls, can weigh up to 50 stone and have only one thing on their mind. The biggest and strongest protect the best sites on the colonies, keeping a harem of cow seals, which they will mate with once the pupping season is over. However to protect the sites, bulls will fight and fight hard. Big battles can ensue and some bulls will fight to the death. Thankfully in most cases, the smaller of the two animals usually retreats to the sea and all ends well without blood being spilt (as shown in Graeme’s excellent video above).
However the team witnessed a horrific event today on Brownsman which will live long in the memory. A young pup managed to get tangled up in such a confrontation between two rival bulls and the result was fatal. As the two bulls squared up to each other, one decided to show strength and grab a two week old seal pup and throw the animal around as if it was a rag doll. The event took seconds, the bulls retreated, but for this young Seal pup, its life had been ended in a brutal way. It’s never dull out and this really is life on the edge and nature in rawest form.