Wildlife calendar

Wildlife is the main draw on the Farne Islands, which are most famous for puffins, closely followed by the seals, plus many other types of birds, including shags, kittiwakes, razor bills, eider ducks and guillemots. You’ll see different things depending on what time of year you visit.

January
Inner Farne and Staple islands closed
Grey seals can be seen from boats
Shags can be seen from boats
 
February
Inner Farne and Staple islands closed 
Grey seals can be seen from boats
Shags can be seen from boats
 
March  
Inner Farne and Staple islands closed
Grey seals can be seen from boat trips
Shags can be seen from the boats
 
April 
Inner Farne open
Staple closed
Puffins start to arrive
Eider ducks start arriving mid-month
Other seabirds – kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns – start to arrive
Shags can be seen on the islands
Grey seals can be seen from boat trips
 
May 
Inner Farne open
Staple open
Puffins can be seen on the islands
Other seabirds – eider ducks, kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags – can be seen on the islands
Arctic terns start to arrive; by late May their young are hatching and they are dive-bombing (bring a hat!)
Grey seals can be seen from boats
 
June 
Staple open
Inner Farne open
Puffins can be seen on the islands
Pufflings start to hatch (though NB you can’t see the baby puffins, as they are underground in the burrows)
Other seabirds – kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags – can be seen on the islands
Eider ducks start to leave and are generally gone by the start of July 
Arctic terns nesting (bring a hat – the terns will dive bomb humans to protect their chicks)
Grey seals can be seen from boats
 
July 
Staple open
Inner Farne open
Puffins can be seen on the islands
Pufflings hatching (though NB you can’t see them, as they are underground)
Other seabirds – kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns, shags – can be seen on the islands
Arctic terns nesting till mid-month (bring a hat – the terns will dive bomb humans to protect their chicks); Arctic terns start to leave
Grey seals can be seen from boats
 
August 
Inner Farne open
Staple closed
Puffins on their way out – you may catch some at the beginning of the month and see them out at sea
Arctic terns leave and other seabirds – guillemots, razorbills, sandwich terns, common terns – start to leave
Kittiwakes and fulmars can be seen till mid-month and usually till the end
Shags can be seen on the islands
Grey seals can be seen from boats
 
September 
Inner Farne open
Staple closed
Grey seals and can be seen from boats
Shags can be seen on the islands
 
October 
Inner Farne open
Staple closed
Peak time for seal pups
Grey seals can be seen from boats; seal pups start to be born (seal pups peak at the end of this month/beginning of November)
Shags can be seen on the islands
 
November 
Inner Farne and Staple closed
Grey seals and seal pups can be seen from boats (seal pubs peak at the end of October/beginning of this month)
Shags can be seen from the boats
 
December 
Seal pups can be seen (from boats)
Shags can be seen from the boats
 
Please note that all timings are approximate, as weather and other factors can affect migration, nesting and breeding times. If in doubt, call ahead to check what you’ll be able to see.
Please note also that all boat trips, including in the summer but especially in the winter, are weather-dependent, so check sailings with the boat trip operators.