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Where can I see a puffin?

17 May 2014

Many people landing on Hirta want to know what the puffins are doing and where they can see one.  Well, the first puffins were spotted quite far out to sea at the end of April but then we didn't catch sight of them again for a few days.  After that they were seen in increasing numbers and increasingly close to land.Puffin productivity: Rafting at sea

 

Now, the puffins are going through a 'quiet' phase as many birds are in their burrows incubating eggs.Puffin productivity: Cosy under a rock incubating an egg

 

It can actually be a bit of a challenge to see puffins on land at St Kilda, which is a surprise to most people given the sheer number of birds that breed on the islands! Accessing colonies is difficult and usually involves a lengthy walk and then scrambling down sheer grassy slopes and across jagged boulders, neither of which I recommend when the weather is anything less than perfect!Puffin productivity: Puffins are not easy to see on Hirta

 

Smaller numbers of puffins do breed in burrows on the cliffs closer to 'home' (Village Bay) and with a bit of patience it is possible to get good views.Puffin productivity: patience can lead to great views (with a zoom lens)

 

I've been ready to start my survey of puffins on Dun for days. Unfortunately, the weather has been quite grim leaving the sea churned up which in turn makes landing on Dun virtually impossible.   Puffin productivity: Canes labelled, ready to goPuffin productivity: Sea conditions are NOT good for landing on Dun

So, I'll continue to check the weather charts and hope the conditions settle.... fingers crossed things improve by next week!

Gina



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