National Geographic : 1952 Oct
o30 Jonn r.. 1. l'olan Guillemots Cram the Flat-top Pinnacles Like Excursionists on a Steamboat Three towering Pinnacles off Staple Island swarm with sea birds in the breeding season. Seen from a distance, the rock stacks appear to sway because of the birds' constant jostling. Penguinlike guillemots crowd the tops so tightly that eggs often drop 60 feet into the sea; kittiwakes nest in crevices lower down. plants. The sea campion is most plentiful on the Fames. One interesting foreigner I noted was the Amsinckia intermedia. It belongs to the borage family and is a native of California. This plant was probably introduced acciden tally many years ago, when light keepers lived on the Inner Farne and kept poultry. I saw not a single tree on any of the islands, though perhaps long centuries ago they may have been wooded. I found only three buildings on Staple and the Brownsman. Two, in ruins, were former beacon towers erected in the 17th and late 18th centuries. The third, a cottage, was built with stone taken from the towers and now houses the two bird watchers. Before leaving Staple with its kittiwakes, shags, guillemots, terns, fulmar petrels, puf fins, and oyster catchers, I caught sight of four curious birds. At first I thought they were guillemots; their beaks, however, were unlike those of guillemots, and, instead of having dark-brown heads and upper parts, they were black. They were razorbills, near est living relative to the extinct great auk.