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27 November 2014

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You are in: Tyne > Features > General features > Spotlight on the Farne Islands

seal

Autumnwatch is filming pupping season

Spotlight on the Farne Islands

Nature lovers have been finding out more about one of the north-east of England's most important wildlife havens.

You could almost have wondered whether the small birds knew there was a camera crew on hand.

As a team from the BBC's Autumnwatch programme prepared to arrive on the Farne Islands, a record number of Little Auks flew past.

The birds, which breed in the Arctic Circle, can be blown down to the North Sea at this time of year and this is what happened with the strong northerly winds.

David Steel with seal pup

David Steel with a seal pup

The number of the birds the islands' wardens counted broke the previous record.

'Staggering sight'

National Trust head warden David Steel said: "It was a staggering sight to see so many of these small Auks bravely battling north against the strong head wind.

"The previous record of 10,947 was made from Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire in January 1995, but the Farnes smashed that record with 18,371 last Thursday, and three days later it was smashed again with 28,803 recorded."

The record was mentioned on Autumnwatch but the islands are due to get even more coverage over the coming days.

The winds which battered the Little Auks also hampered the efforts of the Autumnwatch team to land on the islands by boat and so they had to be flown in by helicopter.

The team are on the islands, which have the UK's largest colony of Atlantic grey seals, to film pupping season.

Simon King will broadcast live from there on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 for Autumnwatch on BBC2 at 8pm.

It is feared recent storms with bad weather and high tides have badly hit the seal colony.

Simon King said a survey was being carried out, but that it appeared a significant number of newborn seals had perished. Read the full BBC News Online story here:

David Steel is writing a blog about his filming experiences and it can be seen here:

last updated: 14/11/07

You are in: Tyne > Features > General features > Spotlight on the Farne Islands

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