Eleven "dancing walkers" (or is that "walking dancers"?) joined Mark on a calm, warm and eventually sunny evening on the cliffs. Before we started I was told that they really, really wanted to see Puffins - so no pressure!!
We talked about the impact of the winter on the birds - the wreck of Puffins in the early Spring, and whether this would impact breeding numbers significantly. The entrance to the reserve still looks bleached, probably from salt spray in the winter, but further south the flowers are in full bloom.
We looked at Razorbills and Guillemots, the telescope allowing very close views so that everyone could appreciate the differences in colour of the birds.
At Henry's Scorth one then 2 Puffins flew in and perched so we could get close scope views. Although no jigs were danced, everyone was delighted! Moving on, photographing cliff top Razorbills, we stopped to admire Fulmars, with their strange "tube-noses", again the scope coming in handy.
At the shelter, I did a quick scan, then left the group to count the Puffins, while I collected a few eggs from the shelter. When I returned I was told there were 2, 5 or 6 Puffins - not bad from the 7 I had counted.
Kittewake, Guillemot and Razorbill eggs were demonstrated. There are always two reactions from the sight of the auk eggs - men tend to laugh while women have a sharp intake of breath at the size compared to the size of the bird!
After 2 hours we wandered back to the car park. Everyone had a great time and fantastic sightings at the sea bird city.
This is officially my last guided walk of the season, but please continue visiting and enjoying the cliffs during the summer.
Sunshine, if a chilly breeze. 8 participants joined Mark and John on the cliffs (always disappointing to have people booking and then not turning up - there should have been an unlucky 13!). Lots of activity on the cliffs - the lateness of the season noted by the Kittewakes still nest building, and pairs of Guillemots and Razorbills mating. Birds are on eggs, and Amanda (there to chill out on the cliffs after a stressful day at work) pointed out an abandoned egg near the shelter at the end of the walk. We were treated to multiple Puffin sightings - a flypast near the start, a couple on the cliff tops at the mid way point and then up to 8 birds around the cave. Close views were obtained here and photo opportunities taken.
Come along and enjoy the hustle and bustle - as Amanda found, watching the birds is a great antidote to human self imposed stress, switch off, use your eyes and ears and just enjoy the moment.
Last night (Thurs 30th) saw 9 participants join Mark and Amanda in warm sunshine at Fowlsheugh. Kittewakes were finally getting their act together and collecting grass on the cliff tops to remake their nests - a month late!Large numbers created blizzards of white as they wheeled around before re-landing on the grassy tops to collect again.
After explaining the geology and the importance of these particular cliffs for sea-birds, we introduced the auks and gulls on the cliffs. A we approached Henry's Scorth there were the usual gasps of amazement at the sight of hundreds of birds cramming the cliffs. Razorbills and Guillemots performed, and close-up views of Fulmars were obtained.
Along to the shelter and yes - 7 puffins were found in their usual places. Two hours flew past with everyone delighted by the experience. We wandered pack to the car park with a red sun setting over the fields. Another great evening at Fowlsheugh!
A beautiful evening, with sunshine and no wind! Only two participants - come on out there you know you want to see Puffins, and we did - at least 6 on the cliffs. Lots of eggs in evidence as well - Guillemots covering up, but unfortunately a couple of predated eggs on the cliff top, and we watched a Herring Gull take and eat another egg
Despite the cold, 5 people came on my first Puffin walk of the season - two French Tourists plus an American exchange teacher and her two friends / supporters. All wanted to see Puffins above everything else. Despite the gloomy thoughts following the major wreck of Puffins in the past month, we had brilliant views of up to 20 birds doing things that neither I nor Vicky have seen before - including pulling up beakfuls of grass to line their nest burrows. Pairs were "billing", lots of action on the cliffs. Get down here and enjoy