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Better late than never

4 June 2015

The unsettled weather in May made conditions unsuitable to try and land on Dun for the annual puffin survey.  Even when the Bay looks calm the swell can make the landing point inaccessible so we waited and waited and waited until today when it was finally good enough to try.  To be honest, I wasn't sure we'd be able to make it but Angus (of Kilda Cruises) took us across and maneuvered the tender perfectly to allow us to jump off onto the rocks - I even managed to stay on my feet which is unusual!Puffin Productivity 2015 - Hirta with boats from Dun


We moved up to the plateau which gives great views of the western side of the island.  The contrast between the lush vegetation on the east and the jagged cliffs on the west is staggering.Puffin Survey 2015 - Cliffs on west side of Dun


The number of birds around us increased as we moved from the periphery of the colony into the main central area.Puffin Survey 2015 - Fulmars nesting with puffins flying byPuffin Survey 2015 - FulmarPuffinsBusySea


We worked methodologically and soon had the burrows marked in record time.Puffin Survey 2015 - Puffin amongst marker canes


Which give us time to sit and watch puffins, fulmars and the odd razorbill flying in and out of the colony.Puffin Survey 2015 - Puffin chaos


We came across an eider duck nest somewhere just below the summit (and another on the shore).Puffin Survey 2015 - Eider duck at the plateau


And for anyone who's ever wondered whether there are mice on Dun..yes, there are.Puffin Survey 2015 - Dried up mouse found on Dun


Then we made our way back down to the landing point with enough time to enjoy watching rafts of puffins and the view back to Hirta.Puffin Survey 2015 - Puffins rafting at seaPuffin Survey 2015 - Rafts of puffins


What a relief to complete this part of the survey.  Many thanks to Peter from Work Party 2 and Kilda Cruises for their help. Puffin Productivity 2015 - Hirta from the landing point at Dun




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