Monday 29 June 2020

Sumburgh Puffins

The Puffins at Sumburgh Head seem to be having a good breeding season as do the other auks, Razorbill and Guillemot.

We have been up twice recently and there has been plenty of Puffins around, many carrying fish which is great to see.

Its very difficult to capture a photo of those carrying fish as they disappear straight down the burrow

Previous years have been bad for seabirds but this season birds are bring back regular supplies of fish which means they must be catching them locally.

It was only a couple of years ago that a Guillemot was tracked going down to near Aberdeen to catch a small fish and was away from its young for 3 days.

Unlike Puffins which can carry loads of fish, Guillemot and Razorbill catch less fish at one time.

With the increase in the number of Auks bring in fish, its noticeable that there has been an increase in the number of Skua, Gtbb and Herring Gulls patrolling the cliffs.

with more birds arriving back from the fishing grounds, the predator birds cannot attack everyone so the success rate if far higher than normal years.

Still digging 

Kittiwake numbers have been down for 20 years so it will be interesting to see how much success they will have. At the minute, they are just bring in nesting material and are sat on eggs.

It was amazing that we were the only people at Sumburgh head on both occasions, on the first a police van parked next to us (Many other parking spaces available). Two policemen got out and went straight over to photograph the Puffins with their mobile phones.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Sumburgh head action

We now visited Sumburgh Head twice in recent weeks and its been very quiet from a visitor point of view. in fact we were the only visitors for most of the time.

 Good news is that lot of Puffin, Guillemot and Razorbill are bring in food, seems the best for many years.
Arctic and Gt Skua

 This has attracted a lot of Skuas, mostly Gt Skua but a couple of Arctic as well but the Gt Skua seems to be top dog
 Kittiwake with nesting material

 Gt Skua brings down Guillemot who releases fish to right

 Lots of Guillemot on the stack down at Sumburgh Head

 Rock Pipit and Wheatear also seem to be doing well

 That's why I haven't seen many Killer whales this year, have been looking on the sea

 Puffins bring in fish have normally gone straight down tunnel

 Good to hear the Kittiwakes although numbers have been greatly reduced since the 1980's