This entire area has been designated an RSPB nature reserve and the facilities are quite good for such a remote place with plenty of parking spaces, toilets, a visitor centre at Sumburgh Head lighthouse, a cafe and a wee shop. Getting to these islands is a bit of (make that a lot of) a trek and you’ll need to catch a ferry either from the mainland town of Oban to North Uist or the island village of Stein on Skye. As a top-tip, no visit to this corner of Scotland would be complete without a visit to Smoo Cave which is only two miles east of Balnakeil. Just now and again you’ll spot one or two – gasp – puffins. Maybe you photographers want to try that if you want real close-ups? The cliffs in this part of Scotland are steep and crumbling due to the different types of rock formations and they’ve become a bit of a tourist attraction in their own right due to the number of seabirds that call the monumental sea stacks their home. Follow the water’s edge north and you’ll eventually arrive at an impressively steep cliff edge which is the puffins favourite nesting area and the location of gorgeous views across the Pentland Firth. As with elsewhere in Sutherland, the puffins come ashore to breed in late April and usually stay till late August so if you’ve come to this part of the country to do a summer tour of the North Coast 500 you might as well take the short detour to Faraid Head to say hello to them. Perhaps surprisingly, the next best place to Shetland for seeing Atlantic puffins in Scotland is in the Firth of Forth. The landing experience, meanwhile, lets you walk around the Bass Rock’s designated walkways to view the seabirds and native seals from just a few feet away, but it’s quite an expensive experience (£130+ per person). Uninhabited by humans for more than ninety years, St. Kilda has returned to nature with just a few ruined buildings on the main island of Hirta left to tell the tale of the people who lived there before they were evacuated in 1930. The boring old guillemots, tedious razorbills – and let’s not forget the black guillemot or tystie, much as I know you want to…. Puffins respond to increasing light levels and put on their breeding dress – they’re much more drab out at sea in the winter. Staffa Tours for the Treshinish Isles: At Treshnish, spend time ashore with the huge colonies of Puffins and other sea birds, and then explore the geological splendour of Staffa’s hexagonal pillars and caves. While we didn’t see any other marine wildlife, there were chances of seeing Bottlenose dolphins, whales, and seals. Puffins are part of the bird genus Fratercula which belong to the auk family. The Complete Guide to Visiting Loch Leven in Kinross, The Complete Guide to Visiting St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, The Complete Guide to Visiting Lochranza on the Isle of Arran. You’ll either love this or just want to slap the author. Most importantly, don't Puffins come ashore to breed in late spring. Please stop doing a plug for other auks in general and tell me where in Scotland I should go? Admit it, you just like puffins? Follow my adventures on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube. Only joking about the last one. It’s possible that puffins live even longer than that. There are a few at the National Nature reserve at St Abbs, but you certainly won’t be strolling up to them. Because these wee islands are so remote the birds there are remarkably tolerant of people and you’ll find yourself able to creep up surprisingly close to them. Then they get down to the serious business of decorating their burrows with a single large egg. Same applies if you are casually puffin-spotting from the rail of, say, a CalMac or Northlink ferry. Boat tours depart from several coastal towns, including Jonesport, Cutler, Bar Harbor, Millbridge, Stonington, Rockland, Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor and Port Clyde. …ever wondered why puffins and other auks flap their wings so fast? Incidentally, the puffin pics here were taken on the island of Staffa. The spectacular cliffs at Fowlsheugh are packed with more than 130,000 breeding seabirds during the spring and summer months. Shetland is also extremely puffinized. There’s the visitor. The puffins at this site like to hide away in the most inaccessible cracks and ledges they can find so it’s often difficult to see them but there are a few nesting sites at the innermost part of the gorge near the path so if you’re lucky you might get a good close-up view. I suggest you take binoculars if you want a good look at these puffins though. … Another great location to see puffins is at Noss island which is regarded as one of the most spectacular wildlife sites in Europe. After the breeding period they spend the rest of the year in the North and Atlantic Oceans in large flocks known as ‘rafts’. There are over 23,000 gannets, 24,000 guillemots and 10,000 fulmars on this small outcrop and in the breeding season the chorus of more than 150,000 chicks and adults is unforgettable. Currently, there are an estimated 250,000 puffins on St. Kilda. Kilda Cruises for St. Kilda tours: Visit one of the most important seabird colonies in Europe. These solar-powered cameras let you zoom in close on the wildlife from the comfort of the centre which means the birds are free of human contact and it’s the only place (that I know of) where you can watch puffins in this way. There are fences all around but I’d definitely keep children and dogs under control, especially if there’s a chance they’ll try to get closer to the nesting birds. You can take a tour deep inside the cave (for a small fee) and there’s a lovely walk around the peninsula that surrounds it which is another favourite spot for seabirds to bob about in the sheltered waters. By this time the inspection yacht was in the Firth of Clyde. (Low wing loading factor.) There are few places left on earth, where you can experience unspoiled nature and abundant wildlife.Lunga on the Treshnish Isles in Scotland is one of those rare places. Both birds were strangled, their egg smashed. And found some. The kittiwake is easily recognised by…oh, never mind, let’s stick with those dang puffins. (Pictured here). See, I told you being an auk, even a puffin, is a serious business. (Oh, wait. So, give them space, don’t get in the way and don’t fall off the edge. Anyway, these other auks are comfortable in big numbers, nesting side by side on these shelves and ledges, sometimes also in company with that sea-going delicate-looking gull, the kittiwake. Sadly, one auk you won’t see is the Great Auk. Eyemouth and St Abbs are signposted from the main A1. This is explained in detail in the St. Abbs Head visitor centre which shows how human disturbance stresses the birds and causes them to leave their nests, but the three-mile circular walk through the reserve is so nice you shouldn’t feel the need to go anywhere else anyway. The village lies at the foot of dramatic mountains that encircle it to the south while a small scenic bay opens up to the Firth of Clyde and the Campbeltown peninsula to the north. And, yes, they are surprisingly tame when you get close. Well, of course you do if the little birdie wanders up to you and looks cute.”. 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