It was hard to take your eyes off the beauty of the Northumberland coastline as we sailed out to The Farnes this morning. Bamburgh Castle was resplendent in the morning light just behind the long sandy beach stretching north from Seahouses, with the snow-dusted Cheviots providing the perfect backdrop as streams of Guillemots moved past.
The Guillemot numbers were simply spectacular this morning, measured in the tens of thousands providing an impressive assembly as they stood on the rocky outcrops and ledges that will see them raise the next generation in the coming months.
The constant movements of individuals between land and sea and the steadiness of the twinned hull Serenity offered some great opportunities for flight photography today.
Whilst Guillemots dominated by sheer force of numbers, other birds around the islands included Fulmars, Shags, a single Razorbill, 2 Peregrines and a good count of over 50 roosting Purple Sandpipers. Some of the Shags were showing early signs of pairing off, displaying and even carrying nesting material.
As always though it's not just about the birds, January offers perhaps some of the best opportunities to view the Grey Seal colony that can call The Farnes home and they certainly didn't disappoint today with large numbers hauled out around the islands 'singing' as we got close.
The return trip back to Seahouses provided brief views of a small pod of Harbour Porpoises picked up by on-board wildlife guide Keith not too far from the front of the boat.