The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “puffins”

A National Trust Advert for the Farne Islands. Do you like it?

A little bit of artistic license here. This was a photo I took and played with a little. But do you not think the National Trust should use this photo for promotional purposes? They are welcome to have it for free!


Farne Islands 2013. Seagulls are the criminal fraternity.

The Farne Islands have been a regular destination over the last 10 years and each year we get some special and very often different photos. This year was no exception. Billy Shiels ( or to be precise William Shiels MBE), runs some special trips most days. The one to go for though is the all day photography trip. The only downside is the depression created by seeing how seemingly everyone has bigger lenses and better camera equipment. The upside is that they all struggle to carry it on the boat and off!

I have not yet sorted all my photographs but here are a few to keep you going. A few warnings attached. Arctic Terns. Beautiful looking birds but beware when they are protecting their young. Folks are warned to wear a hat and this year they were the angriest they have ever been. My head/hat got pecked more than 100 times in a 3 hour visit. The little chicks are like balls of fur and one needs to watch out for them on the walkways around the island. 

There are plenty of special photo opportunities as the arctic terns collect sand eels in the same way the puffins do. The seagulls just steal them, they are the criminal fraternity of the Farne Islands.  Lots more photo updates coming but enjoy these to start with!ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Farne Islands and MV Danio. Puffins and other friends hoping for no fuel leaks

Just a few photos to show you what an amazing place the Farne Islands are. We always go with Billy Shiels, but there are others who may be just as good. Fantastic puffins and other birds there. ImageImageImageImageblue caps, ImageImageImageImageImage

Farne Islands. MV Danio aground near Longstone Lighthouse

Today an 80 metre cargo ship called MV Danio, Norwegian registered, has run aground on rocks known as ” Blue Caps” near Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands. The boat was carrying timber and there are no reported fuel nor cargo spillages. The crew of six are reported unharmed. The lifeboat was called out at 04.50 am and made un unsuccessful attempt to refloat the vessel due to the tide going out. A second attempt to refloat will be made tonight.

The Farne Islands are a group of small islands unihabited off the Northumberland coast near Bamburgh and Seahouses. They are home from April to July to thousands of Puffins,Arctic terns and other seabirds, and are a great place to visit by boat from Seahouses. The Longstone Lighthouse is famous for the rescue of a grounded boat in 1843 by Grace Darling.

I visit there each summer to photograph puffins and seals. Photo credit to RNLI for the MV Danio below, and credit to myself for the other photos, which are not of the Farne Islands but taken a few miles north at Holy Island.

MV Danio

MV DanioIMG_8982


Holy Island. Good access to graveyards

Holy Island. Good access to graveyards



Arctic Tern. Dinner in beak

So much news to update that it is difficult to know where to start, so will work backwards over last 2 weeks.
Just back from a week away, mixture of work and holiday. Was up in Harrogate for a psychiatric congress that is always good fun. Get to meet colleagues and do some work and have a few drinks…………however there is a good chance that I halved the average age in Harrogate. I came down for breakfast the first morning and it seemed the whole world had gone grey overnight. Some great little snippets of conversation like a lady asking another, using the same intonation as you might ask ” more tea vicar?”…………asking ” more medication dear?”……
I travelled up by train which was actually quite fun. The train from Kings Cross was packed even on a sunday and allegedly was going all the way to Inverness,8 hours worth of train. In fact at its first stop, York, which suited me as that was where I was getting off, they said “all change”! Cue, grumblings and moaning…..
The next train a cross country train to Harrogate, actually looked like, sounded like and was about the size of a bus. It also went to stations that sounded like they came straight out of Camberwell Green. Try Poppleton,Starbecks………
Anyway Harrogate was lovely, weather warmish and the congress was really good. All against my iniitial expecatations. Took a little trip to Brimham Rocks, an amazing place where one climbs over these prehistoric looking rock formations. Some of the children there was performing death defying leaps between rocks with no parents in site…….I took Tea at Betty’s, an old fashioned tea shop, where the waitresses all look like they came from Upstairs Downstairs or a Jane Austen novel. Tea and cakes are nice, really nice, but not cheap and one might want to remove a few noughts from the bill. Then up to Newcastle way and that allowed a last trip of the year over to the Farne Islands. All the birds had gone really with only a few stragglers left. Saw 2 puffins on Inner Farne Island and they have stopped landing on Staple Island as all the birds have gone. The Arctic Terns were even good natured, or as good natured as they will ever get. The news from there is that they have had 36,000 pairs of breeding puffins this year, same as last year, one pair of swallows (?) and 9 pairs of Mallards…………
Drove back down this afternoon. A mere 350 miles on a friday evening, meeting lots of roadworks and traffic. Took around 7 hours of driving.
Brentford have continued to do well in all their friendlies, beating two non-league teams away 10-0 and 6-1, beating Stoke at home 1-0 and drawing 0-0 with Watford. This is so encouraging that I am going to see Aldershot v Brentford friendly tomorrow! So some photos may appear…….
the only bad news was that arrived home to find that someone is trying to sue Yasmin for an accident in 2006. Yasmin was stationary when hit from behind and shunted forward to hit the car in front. It seems that a little creativity has been applied to this story and a claim for almost 3K. Hmmm…….will be an interesting court case if it ever reaches there. Will take advice from eldest most-legal daughter, who has been out-argiung me for almost 30 years. And a law degree as well……

The whole week. Where has it gone?

Seems to have just dissapeared this week. Drove to Newcastle last sunday night, not what I want to do every sunday night, a mere 350 miles. Monday turned out well as my meeting finished early and I made a quick dash up to Seahouses to get a boat over to the Farne Islands. I had this vision that on a weekday in june the place would be deserted. Wrong. Thousands of people there. There seemed also to be an age limit. No one under 70 was alllowed. Anyway lots and lots of Puffins, being chased by Kittiwakes as they headed back down into their burrows with sand eels. Lots of good photographs. The arctic terns though were being specially evil. I have never seen them so angry and peckety. Heads were being attacked all the time. A fair few seals too, most;y grey atlantic seals. I stayed in a small hotel in Beadnell which overlooked the dea. After an early dinner I had a walk through some fields, where the cows and bull took a too healthy interest in my presence, down to the harbour.
Thursday night Elena and her school choir were singing on the stage in Kingston at the Rose theatre. They all sang a special musical composed for the festival called the Soulbird, named after a book. It was lovely. The musicians all gave their time for free and one of them in turns out is the musical director of Billy Elliot in the West end.
Weather here has continued to be rubbish with rain most or even all days. We got 2 lots of olympic tickets for hockey and equestrian. So not brilliant but not awful either.
Animals are all fine, although we had a comedy moment yesterday. A wicked nasty hateful cat called Monty ( an eveil looking tabby garfield type) has always chased our little black cat shadow ( shadow is the runt if you dont know this already). Today Monty chased Shadow to the edge of the house, then turned around and Shadow chased her to the top and then Monty chased her back to the house. Like a tom and Jerry cartoon!! mind you we came down this morning to find the cat flap torn off the patio window and wrecked, so maybe Monty got revenge in the night………
Brentford have now signed two new players. A German defender and a guy from Man city.
Hedgepig has a new wheel. He continues to be a reversing sort of hedgehog but all the children that come to the house love him.
Elena had made a new friend in her class, a girl called Caitlin, who is one of seven children……….can you imagine………………seven……
Not got plans really for my birthday next weekend but Charles is coming over on the sunday. We might go cricket.
so nothing as exciting as Mexico……..but no hurricanes nor crocs either.

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