England’s most northern county is well known for its coastline, moorland and forest and for the diverse range of species found there. The highlight of this tour is a visit to the world famous Farne Islands where large numbers of Arctic Tern, Atlantic Puffin, Common Guillemot, Razorbill and Black-legged Kittiwake amongst others will leave us overwhelmed!
Tour Leader: Steve Grimwade
Maximum Group Size: 7
We leave Essex and head north, with possible pickups en-route and stop at Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve where we hope to see nesting Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Willow Tit, Common Kingfisher, Reed and Sedge Warblers and perhaps Little Ringed Plover, before continuing the journey to our accommodation in the village of Seahouses overlooking the harbour. If time permits we will explore the immediate area looking for Little Tern and Common Eider.
Days 2 – 3
Depending on tides and weather we take a boat trip to visit the world famous Farne Islands, home to a large seabird nesting colony. Leaving Seahouses at around 9.30am, we sail eastwards noting passing Northern Gannets heading to the colony at Bass Rock and soon we begin to see our first Atlantic Puffins of the tour. The morning will be spent on Staple Island, enjoying the amazing sight of nesting birds, with Arctic Terns at your feet, before being transported to the largest Island Inner Farne for another two hours of joy at seeing seabirds at such close range.
The islands hold Atlantic Puffins, Common Guillemots, Razorbills, Sandwich, Common, Arctic and possibly Roseate Tern with European Shag and Common Eider nesting in large numbers. Grey Seals swim offshore and can be seen basking in the sunshine. This is a fantastic opportunity for photographers and birders alike to enjoy extremely close views of birds we normally see in the distance at headlands and coastal sites.
A boat trip will also be made to Coquet Island RSPB reserve, approximately one mile offshore from Amble and home to several thousand nesting Sandwich, Common and Arctic Tern, with the real star of the show – Roseate Tern! Although we cannot land due to seabird protection rules, we can hope for good views of this scarce bird.
After breakfast we will visit the nearby Harthope Valley with its nesting White-throated Dipper, Common Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Common Sandpiper, Wood Warbler, Whinchat, Willow Ptarmigan and Northern Raven, whilst overhead Common Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk can be seen. We begin our return journey southwards after what will have been an excellent tour!
Full board accommodation for 3 nights
All ground transport including 2 Boat Trips and landing fees
Full guiding throughout
Drinks and items of a personal nature
Lunch on day 1
Relaxed, two to three miles walking per day
Expect around 100 species
Tour Price: £790
Single Supplement: £90