The National Trust cares for some of our most cherished places, landscapes and wildlife habitats on the Northumberland Coast including Lindisfarne Castle, The Farne Islands, the two inland sites of Ros Castle and St Cuthbert's Cave, and over 12 miles of stunning coast over a forty mile stretch. These include St Aidan's dunes at Seahouses, Beadnell lime kilns, Craster to Low Newton (including Dunstanburgh Castle and Embleton Bay), Buston Links at Alnmouth and Druridge Bay.
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
another miserable day of heavy winds and drizzling rain sets in, and the
islands are once again closed by the inclement weather, it feels like the
perfect time to introduce the ranger team for the 2016 season.
may seem a little late, given that we moved out here in March, but we’ve been
busy blogging about Bluethroats and breeding birds. Introductions can wait when
there are so many wildlife highlights to share! But as spring fades away and
migration slows down, we finally have the chance. So, with no further ado, meet
Blakely and Ed Tooth, Rangers
both spent time on the East-Anglian coast with the RSPB, Ed and Lana began life
on the Farnes in 2014, and have been drawn back ever since. Now into their
third season and still loving every minute, you will find Ed looking after the
outer group and Lana looking after the inner group. They both share a love for
Fulmars, world birding and have occasionally been known to twitch rare birds in
Hibbert, Assistant Ranger
an Ocean Sciences degree from Bangor University and a background in seabird
monitoring, Tom is obsessed with all things feathered. Despite having spent
three months measuring turtles and ringing tropicbirds in the Seychelles, Tom
is happiest when studying British seabirds. So naturally he was delighted to
return for his second season as Assistant Ranger on the Farne Islands.
Lawrence, Assistant Ranger
graduating from ExeterUniversity, Sarah volunteered at ZSL and collected
cetacean photo-ID in Iceland
before moving to Ísafjörđur to complete her Master’s degree in Coastal and
Marine Management. Having spent a season monitoring seabirds on Mingulay in the
Outer Hebrides, Sarah is looking forward to experiencing
a season on the Farnes.
Guglielmotti, Assistant Ranger
an environmental law trainee, Diana decided to take the leap and transform her
passion for conservation into a career. After volunteering and working with
seabirds in the far north of Scotland,
Diana decided to experience life on the FarneIslands.
Clark, Assistant Ranger
love for conservation started when studying Zoology at the University of
Glasgow. After graduating Jen spent five years at the RSPB, first on the
Somerset Levels showcasing Starling murmurations, then safeguarding the world
famous Osprey nest at Loch Garten. Her last stint with the RSPB was on Islay,
surveying Chough and counting geese, before returning to the Cairngorms to join
the Scottish Wildcat Action team for the winter survey season.Although at home in the hills, either
mountain biking or hiking, Jen is thrilled to swap the trees and mountains of
the Cairngorms for the remote island life of the Farnes.
Pearson, Assistant Ranger
undertook a ten-month traineeship with Durham Wildlife Trust’s Wildground
Project, covering a wide range of conservation and habitat management skills
with a focus on wildlife friendly grounds maintenance. On the traineeship she
achieved a level 2 Diploma in Practical Environmental Conservation Skills. This
is her first time working in a coastal environment.
Jackson, Assistant Ranger
graduated from Aberystwyth University in 2013, where she studied Environmental
Science. Since then she has worked at various seabird colonies around Britain
and is finding working and living amongst all the seabirds on the Farne Islands
a spectacular experience. Her other main interest also has wings; bats. Sophia
surveys and analyses these little creatures of the night. Swimming is her main
sports hobby, although she has only gone for one swim off the Farnes so far
Iceton, Assistant Ranger
graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2014 with an MSc in Zoology, Dan
volunteered as a trainee ranger with the National Trust. This led to his job
with the Farne Islands team working on Staple island. Swimming is his main
sporting interest, and he is hoping to swim off the Farnes as often as possible
this summer. Dan has always had a great interest in wildlife and the outdoors,
especially the Northumberland coast, making the Farne Islands the perfect place
to live and work.
Charlotte Altass, Assistant Ranger
joined the Farnes’ ranger team following a BSc in Animal Behaviour in 2014, and
an MSc in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology from Aberdeen in 2015. Her
thesis focussed on the Eider population of the Ythan Estuary, tapping into her
interest in seabirds. Outside of university, Charlotte volunteered with the
charity Marine Life for several years, assisting with vessel based surveys
around the Northumberland coast. Following her MSc, she spent a month offshore
helping out on fisheries research surveys with the Scottish government, as well
as undertaking more seabird and cetacean surveys around the UK coast, and even
travelling further afield to Norway and Sweden.
Reid, Assistant Ranger
live on a remote island requires a certain amount of eccentricity, and no
ranger represents this more than Harriet. But even whilst she is making noises,
pulling silly expressions or randomly singing she is obsessed with nature,
trying to understand and experience as much as possible. Her love of immersing
herself in her surroundings has led to time spent volunteering at Spurn Point,
Yorkshire, and working at the Long Nanny Little Tern site near Beadnell, where
rangers camp in the dunes. Her degree is in marine biology, so working on an
island covered in breeding seabirds, surrounded by the sea, is ideal. Harriet
also enjoys kayaking, Scuba diving, badminton and driving the islands’ Zodiac
Hendry, Assistant Ranger
has a passion for all wildlife and habitats, but he adores seabirds and has
previously worked to monitor and protect seabird colonies in Northumberland and
the Mediterranean. After studying for a degree in Environmental Management, he
volunteered in Iceland, Hungary and sub-Arctic Canada, performing conservation
work, before working with Birdlife Malta and the National Trust. He has visited
the Farnes from an early age and has loved its rugged landscapes and iconic
birds ever since. Living here is something of a dream come true, and Tom is
excited to work with the diverse array of seabirds that call the islands home
throughout the summer.
that’s our team! A great eclectic mix of backgrounds and experience, united by
a love of nature and a passion for sharing and conserving it. But it wouldn’t
be fitting for a Farnes blog to have no mention of birds at all; the sightings
log may not have been bursting from its binder these last few weeks, but there
have been a few highlights.
After the disappearance of the last Bluethroat, the
islands were plunged into a quiet spell for passerines, finally broken by a
Common Rosefinch that dropped from the sky to land on Brownsman on the 25thMay.
Rosefinch lingered (often elusively) until the 29th, when it was
joined by two Red-backed Shrike! This pair of beauties commuted between
Brownsman and Staple throughout the morning, allowing them to be admired by
both visitors and rangers alike.
interesting records from this relatively quiet period include Great Northern
Diver, Manx Shearwater, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Sanderling, Short-eared
Owl, Wheatear and Gadwall (a pair of which were seen on Inner Farne pond for
the second time this season, which is incredible for this less than annual
visitor!). We’ve also had our first Roseate Tern sighting of the season, with
the occasional bird now appearing amongst the large roost on Inner Farne.
of terns, all three of our breeding species (Arctic, Common and Sandwich) are now incubating eggs. The courtyard of Inner
Farne is once again covered in nests, so if you are visiting please be careful
where you walk and remember your hat – it protects your head from both ends of
a protective parent!