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Puffin

Puffin

Farne Islands, Northumberland, UK. 6 July 2016
EOS 7D mk II with EF 400mmf4 DO. ISO 400 1/5000sec @ f5

Previously, I'd found auk flight shots very difficult, but after a few attempts, had some limited success on a small island in Varanger Fjord in northern Norway in 2015 where a strong wind was slowing them down, but the light was poor.

A week long holiday in Seahouses in early July provided another opportunity, and the means to try, for the first time, seabird photography on the Farne Islands. After plenty of mixed weather, by mid week, the forecast for the following day was finally favourable and so the wife and I booked on the all day birders trip (6+ hours). After a bit of a cruise around, the boat landed on Staple Island.

Walking up the track from the landing point, I became aware of Puffins flying past low, approximately parallel with the path. A little further on, a small bank afforded a reasonable view back along their flight paths, so it might be feasible, in theory at least, to pick them up a little way out, and then track them as they flew past. Fortunately the sun was out and behind us, so this was where we spent a fair amount of time. By this time in the season, the birds were clearly feeding young, and judging by the plentiful beakfulls of sand eels, it seemed that there was plenty for them to eat.

Getting sharp pics in these situations is pretty hit & miss, but a few worked out and of the numerous photos I took, this is my favourite as the bird shot past, low down, giving a great view of all the sand eels it had managed to collect.

Thereafter, the boat trip took in Inner Farne for Arctic Terns etc, but despite the good forecast it quickly clouded over and there was rain on the way back!  

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