Great bird reserves: The Farne Islands

Published on 10 January 2018 in Main articles

By David Steel

Abstract The Farne Islands represent one of Britain’s most accessible and awe-inspiring nature reserves with spectacular seabird colonies and large Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus nurseries. The islands also have a reputation as one of the best migration sites along the east coast of Britain. This paper describes the history and management of the islands, their importance to seabirds and research, and highlights some of the outstanding bird migrants recorded.

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Longstone is the easternmost of the Farne Islands, its lighthouse being the former home of the Darling family, from where Grace and her father made the famous rescue of 1838. In the foreground, the cliffs of Brownsman Island teem with thousands of Common Guillemots alongside nesting Shags, Kittiwakes and Razorbills. David Steel