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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Monday, 17 August 2009 21:25

Birds of Scotland III: Cliff colonies of North and West coast

1D3_0322PSmap-of-scotlandThe cliffs rimming most of the coast of Scotland are home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds. Almost every cliff is teeming with life and host at least one of the most common species of seabirds – mostly Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis), ever-present Gulls, Guillemots (Uria aalge), Razorbills (Alca torda) and Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica). During our June trip to Scotland we had an opportunity to visit some of the most famous cliff colonies on the northern and western coast of Scotland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunnet Head a John O´Groats

IMG_0731PSBoth spots are located et the north-eastern tip of Scotland just a stone cast from Orkney Islands – one of the favourite place for birding in United Kingdom. 1D3_0504PSDunnet Head and John O´Groats are accessible mostly only from the top edge of the cliff so there are not many good opportunities for photography. Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) are the birds that can be watched and photographed most easily – they glide over the cliffs` edges and at some places you can find them “levitating” in front of your eyes – these are good spots for practising the birds-in-flight photography. At the cliffs of John O´Groats you can descend down to the rocky coast and watch Fulmars from very close distance; with a bit of luck you can also watch Oystercatchers hatching the chicks on the pebble beaches or a few pairs of Atlantic Puffins burrowing and nesting on the cliff’s edge.

 

 

 

Handa Island

1D3_0599PSHanda Island at the north-western coast of Scotland is one of the most famous and popular place that attracts all the birdwatchers and photographers. 1D3_0632PSThe island with its birds populations and species variability is very similar to Skomer Island in Wales. Besides the common Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills and significant population of Great Skua (Starcorarius skua) you can see plenty of other species as e.g. Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Terns, Ptarmigans or number of passerines. The island is accessible by boat leaving from Tarbet harbour.

 

 

 

Lunga Island

IMG_1759PSLunga Island, one of the Treshnish Islands west of Mull Island became famous as home for the tamest colony of Atlantic Puffins in United Kingdom. IMG_1747_PSThe Puffins on Lunga Island are so tame and use to the presence of visitors that the trips called “Puffin therapy” take place here – the boat disembarks the people on the Island for two hours and they can virtually lie down to the ground among the “sun-bathing” Puffins. It also attracts lots of photographers who can make nice portrait or macro pictures of Puffins. The boats to Lunga sail regularly from Ulva at Mull Island during the season.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0740PSSo these were just shortly one of those most famous seabird cliff colonies of Scotland. It needs to be said that after some time visiting these places becomes more or less tedious because of the monotonous and almost identical composition of the bird populations.

 

 

 

 

 

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Related articles:

Birds of Scotland I: Bass Rock – wildlife wonder of the world

Birds of Scotland II: east coast – Fowlsheugh and Troup Head

Birds of Scotland IV: A few notes from Outer Hebrides

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 08:22
 
Comments (87)
  • Dominic Gendron

    These images are very nice! I like those Atlantic Puffin :)

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