Saturday, 11 June 2011

Chalk and cheese...

Well, I am oft heard to say that two days are never the same in the life of a Ranger...well the last two days have definitely been a prime example of how different two days can be.

Yesterday myself and Elaine went down to the Farne Islands for a their Management Committee Meeting which included a trip over to the islands to see the seabirds. Always good to share experiences with our colleagues from the National Trust south of the Border, on our neighbouring seabird colony. The sea was calm, the sky (mostly) blue, and the seabird experience just about as great as it can be on the Farnes with all the birds madly feeding chicks. It was interesting to see that they have had an early breeding season too, they are about a week ahead of us even, and so there were quite a lot of guillemot jumplings on the sea (picture left). They are called jumplings because they jump from the land down to the sea when they are only three quarters grown, and have not fledged out of their downy feathers to their true flight feathers yet, and so are not able to fly. Now being a jumpling on the Farnes is not quite such a perilous thing as at St Abbs because they do not have the towering cliffs that we have, but it still pulls on the heart strings somewhat to see these wee birds taking to the open sea (albeit with their parents to escort them) at such a tender age.

Now segue to St Abbs today: a steely grey sea, dotted with white caps, rain being driven horizontal by a brisk wind and a pair of stalwart Rangers (yes, the same two as yesterday) trying to show a group of overseas students from the various Edinburgh universities the glories of St Abbs in June. We did manage to get the telescopes set up at the top of the cliffs, and hold them still enough to allow some of the braver members of the group to see the seabirds before the lenses of the scopes got completely drenched and they ended up getting a view more like the picture to the right. Oh well, you couldn't ever say that being a Ranger is boring!

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