Also how to behave before a puffin – plus a plug for other auks, who get jealous of their cute cousin. The cliffs there are great for birds so I suggest bringing some binoculars and taking a look over the edges. The start is the small car park at Duncansby Head (grid ref. First I want to make a plea for their cousins, the rest of the auk tribe. During the walk you can see (in season) a wide variety of sea birds including Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Guillemots and Great Skuas amongst others. The puffin pictures here were captured by Johanna on Staffa, an island more associated with Fingal’s Cave. It’s a black guillemot. There’s a lot of other interesting stuff going on along the seaboard. The stacks are stunning to see, and the walk to get there should be okay for most people, weather permitting. Hopeless under water. Further resources See how to drive to the Puffin Cove from Reay, Caithness. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. Obviously, the terrain will be gentler but you can be sure that somewhere close by will be the vertiginous plunge to your doom, so take care, will you? For more bird and puffin spotting opportunities on the north coast, see also Duncansby Head and Dunnet Head. The second kind of experience, much sought after by puffinaphiliacs, is where you can, literally, stroll up to the birds. Puffins and auks have a special problem. ND404733) located close to the lighthouse. Click on a pic. So, give them space, don’t get in the way and don’t fall off the edge. Finally, in this cliff list, just a couple more places where the coastal scenery is spectacular or significant. The rock formations , gullies and stacks are truly amazing. In comparison, puffins are a little stand-offish. Review tags are currently only available for English language reviews. A short walk from the lighthouse car park and you will reach one of Britain's best sea-bird colonies. It’s 45 minutes from Dunnet Head, but it is a castle! Take a walk from John o’Groats to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point on the British mainland, and continue along the coast to see the two dramatic pointed sea stacks.During puffin breeding season, which is from late-spring to early summer, you should keep an … When the time is right, like independently minded teenagers, the young set off at night from their home-burrow, ignored by their parents. Total commuting team from burrow to fishing ground and back may be as much as an hour and a half. One other point about puffins. This one’s just caught a fish. Sometimes called a tystie. Royal Yacht Britannia – Scotland’s best attraction? If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. They are considered to be so cute that they have their own cutesy kind of vocabulary. Duncansby Head is one of the best places to see puffins in Caithness. When they said tools, obviously they didn’t mean wee sets of spanners or whatever. Puffins are always to be found close to or on the sea. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. Anyway, back in puffin world, yes, keep an eye on auks on the water. It’s a relatively flat, pleasant walk and most of your company is more likely to be sheep or some of the Scottish wildlife than fellow tourists. But wait…. The Shiants out in the Minch and also the Treshnish Isles are well known. We were lucky as visited when the huge number of seabirds were nesting on the most amazing cliffs. Unlike their cousins, the guillemots and razorbills, who positively entice their chicks to leave the nesting ledge, puffins are much more wings-off about their youngsters. You’ll either love this or just want to slap the author. Nobody ever drooled over a black guillemot, but I like ’em. Obviously I can’t put in every cliff-face. (Pictured below) This is not a puffin. We saw them on our walk to the Sea Stacks at Duncansby Head as well as at the Whaligoe Steps. However if you want a one of a kind experience seeing puffins in Scotland then it will take you away from the NC500. It’s a wonder they have any time at all to stand around and pose for your enjoyment. They are also on the island of Noss in some numbers, while you can also patronise a puffin or two at Hermaness right at the very top of Shetland. There are a few at the National Nature reserve at St Abbs, but you certainly won’t be strolling up to them. The boring old guillemots, tedious razorbills – and let’s not forget the black guillemot or tystie, much as I know you want to…. The area is popular with visitors due to the number of seabirds that thrive in the area, with the adorable puffin frequently see … Duncansby Head: Puffins! I think I’ve cropped out the razorbills.) That’s fine – a lot of visitors to Scotland are like you. If in the area its a must! But your approach to them isn’t as easy as, say, the quite famous ones at Faraid Head … There’s the visitor. On the way you can see birds nesting on the cliffs and it's a breathtaking view. Then it’s round and into the sunny Moray Firth, where there are also a few at Troup Head (RSPB Reserve and boyhood haunt) though everyone associates this place with gannets these days. *Researchers say that the ‘divorce rate’ amongst puffins is between 7-13% – so that’s nice for them. They’re a very sociable lot, the other auks like guillemots and razorbills, pictured here. The stacks were majestic and the walk to them was fairly short. Anyway, the bird joined them on the inspection voyage, being allowed to swim and feed via a string on its leg. I had to look it up. Fulmars float by superciliously looking down their tube noses at you. Tysties are inconspicuous and tend to be in small groups. If I told you I could show you what are probably Scotland’s most northerly pair of breeding yellow wagtails you’d probably feign vague but polite interest. By this time the inspection yacht was in the Firth of Clyde. The most you can hope for is a kind of fishy indifference. NB puffins may look comical but this does not mean they have a sense of humour. Puffins in captivity are kept in puffinariums. Well worth the mile or so walk. The last one recorded in Scottish waters was actually presented alive in 1821 to Robert Stevenson by a local crofter. Ideally Located on the same road as the world famous Duncansby Head with it's sea stacks and within walking distance of … A short walk from the lighthouse car park and you will reach one of Britain's best sea-bird colonies. Nearby Dunnet Head is the RSPB’s largest reserve in the UK where you can see puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags and cormorants. Breath taking views and loads of photo opportunities! Why can’t she use a proper heavy cumbersome photography-martyr’s camera like I do (at least, sometimes), for goodness sake? While the rest of the group were looking at the basalt columns, Johanna went off looking for puffins. Puffins respond to increasing light levels and put on their breeding dress – they’re much more drab out at sea in the winter. (Oh, wait. Orcas (killer whales) are regularly seen off the coast, while … Duncansby Head is the most north-easterly point of the UK and Scottish mainland. Imagine that, some puffin has got to fly and then dive even further for food for the chick, just so someone can give their indulged mutt a treat. Anyway, as I see you are still reading, then here are plenty of puffinous facts – just so you can be totally auk-aware. https://outaboutscotland.com/where-to-see-puffins-in-scotland Keen on birds? Sure, they’ll pose about on rocks but, in the main, they’re usually a little aside from the main throng and nearly always in smaller numbers. And don’t get too hung up on just puffins. (Don’t get too close to these, will you? Then the great auk was gone for ever. There are black and white auks whirring below. At that point the visitor will say ‘So where are the puffins?’ Small wonder the guillemots get jealous. The total figure for Scotland should include not only those in the Shiants but colonies on St Kilda, Bass Rock, St. Abbs Head, Duncansby Head, Faraid Head, and Lunga. Lighthouses in John O'Groats; Farms in John O'Groats; Points of Interest & Landmarks in John O'Groats; Lookouts in John O'Groats; Popular John O'Groats Categories Pictured here) Tentative puffin sketch, done while hanging over the edge of this huge precipice…you don’t believe that bit, do you? I’ve seen great views of them at Sumburgh Head – just look over the wall of the road up to the lighthouse (the ultimate in easy puffin-ogling, I would say). (Another place where you can stroll up to them , though slowly and carefully and with respect, as noted above.). Duncansby Head: Tickets & Tours‎ Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop: Tickets & Tours‎ ... We recommend booking Duncansby Head tours ahead of time to secure your spot. Duncansby Head is the furthest point by road, on the north/east coast, from Lands End, down in Cornwall, being a good mile or two further on than the nearby John O'Groats. Here the Old Red Sandstone Cliffs are eroded into angular blocks ideal for the birds to nest on. Remember? Muckle Skerry is an island of Orkney located seven kilometers northeast of Duncansby Head. I was outraged. Really enjoyed a walk around the cliffs here. Because – and I’ve seen it myself so often – picture this scene. So near you could nearly touch them. Duncansby Head is the furthest point by road, on the north/east coast, from Lands End, down in Cornwall, being a good mile or two further on than the nearby John O'Groats. ?. John o Groats is just so tacky and not that pleasant Though you have to visit just to get photo at the sign But park in large car park and walk out to Duncansby Head and you will be absolutely thrilled. But you’re not an especially avid birdwatcher? The average time in total a puffin spends underwater during the breeding season is about seven hours. Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 684 reviews, articles, and 597 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. *They oldest puffin ringed by scientists – and whose ring was found – was over 30 years old. In Iceland, where they still hunt puffins (no comment necessary), they splash orange paint on the rocks and and wear orange clothes as puffins are attracted to orange. That’s why puffins flap more or less constantly while flying. Every spring my sister and I take a walk to Duncansby Head to see the seabirds nesting. We saw them on our walk to the Sea Stacks at Duncansby Head as well as at the Whaligoe Steps. Just now and again you’ll spot one or two – gasp – puffins. Your cuddly friends with the clown-face prefer to keep their domestic affairs out of sight. Here we go. It’s wee sprat-like North Atlantic fish. This is a fine way of spending part of a sea-passage in Scotland. Incidentally, the puffin pics here were taken on the island of Staffa. The Duncansby Stacks lie just off the shore of Duncansby Head on the most northeastern point of mainland Britain. OK, I’ll tell you where to see puffins in a minute. You can easily imagine these long-established couples bickering in their burrows over whose turn it is for the fishing trip. Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 685 reviews, articles, and 597 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. Puffins live in puffineries. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT WILL BE SUBJECT TO WHATEVER COVID RESTRICTIONS ARE IN PLACE AT THE TIME Join our ten-day event in Caithness, … Museum demand for skins also hastened the end of the species. Well, of course you do if the little birdie wanders up to you and looks cute.”. Map View Stacks of Duncansby Walk in a larger map Description The… But now that I’ve mentioned puffins I see you’re already reaching for the camera and making drooly noises. No point in having great long soaring wings like a gull. Only joking about the last one. Duncansby Head and Stacks are located approximately 5 miles along the coast from John o’ Groats and are the true most-northerly point of mainland Britain. Grey Seals can be seen at all times of the year. Ironically, one of the first results I found for it showed it in a small pack, being sold as dog-food. Oh, and the average puffin catches 450 sandeels per day. To be honest – and this is as much to do with geology as anything else – it isn’t until you are seriously up north that you get into a few ‘stroll up to them and snap a cutesy picture’ situations. What is it about puffins? Grey Seals can be seen at all times of the year. In the Shiants, a successful campaign was run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to protect puffins and other birds by eliminating invasive black rats. Same applies if you are casually puffin-spotting from the rail of, say, a CalMac or Northlink ferry. OK, I know enough now about how to recognise a puffin. You can drive out to the lighthouse but so much nicer to walk out. We drove on to the north-easterly tip of the Scottish mainland and Duncansby Head, which sits on top of high cliffs. And found some. If crossing north over the Scottish Border on the east side, then St Abb’s Head is just a few minutes away. Northern Sands Hotel. Sadly, one auk you won’t see is the Great Auk. The best part however were the birds. ND404733) located close to the lighthouse. Duncansby Head (Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Dhunngain or Dùn Gasbaith) is the most northeasterly part of the British mainland, slightly northeast of John o' Groats.It is located in Caithness, Highland, in north-eastern Scotland. We went here for Duncansby stacks, not the sign or anything like that. Each parent at sea may dive between 600 and 1150 times daily for the sandeel or sprats or capelin. Puffin places on the Scottish coasts…All right. You might even get to like guillemots and other Scottish birds. (Find out more at North Berwick’s Scottish Seabird Centre.). They feed them up to give them fat reserves and then leave them to it. Then they get down to the serious business of decorating their burrows with a single large egg. 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. Eyemouth and St Abbs are signposted from the main A1. (Pictured here). And do you know, she just took these with her phone? In short, I would not advise coming back as a puffin for your next life. But no point in having wings that are really so small that you can only use them as flippers, otherwise you’d end up like the great auk – and we all know what happened to him. There are hundreds and hundreds of auks packed together – a seabird city spectacle that assaults all senses (Boy, this birdy biomass sure can smell fishy.) Book your tickets online for Duncansby Head, John O'Groats: See 680 reviews, articles, and 587 photos of Duncansby Head, ranked No.2 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in John O'Groats. Birds species include fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, puffins, kittiwakes, great skuas and arctic skuas. (Or, at least, I’ll point you towards some puffiny places.) Now sit up at the back and pay attention. See, I told you being an auk, even a puffin, is a serious business. I got some of these statistics from a book called The Seabird’s Cry, by Adam Nicholson. Sounds like a lot of hard work. (Pictured here) Some places to see puffins in Scotland. Just scan these auks pattering away from the bow-wash. Duncansby Head is particularly spectacular because of its rugged rock formations and pinnacles, the so-called Duncansby stacks. (There can be no other explanation if you’ve gone this far down the page.) Trip Advisor / Booking.com. A short walk takes you to the dramatic Stacks of Duncansby that rise up out of the sea and you guessed it, yet more puffins. At it's very tip is situated the Duncansby Head Lighthouse, built in 1924 and fully automated in 1997. Why? The walk from John O’Groats to the Stacks at Duncansby Head should take you around 2.5 – 3 hours of walking. “You think you know what a puffin looks like? If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. The total figure for Scotland should include not only those in the Shiants but colonies on St Kilda, Bass Rock, St. Abbs Head, Duncansby Head, Faraid Head, and Lunga. It’s a wildlife haven home to puffins, seals, razorbills and much more. There they are, all these auks, doing their best to be entertaining – and all you want to see is the guy with that strap-on stupid beak? Orcas (killer whales) are regularly seen off the coast, while … Puffins in north-west Scotland. …ever wondered why puffins and other auks flap their wings so fast? The most important thing to remember during your potentially rewarding puffinesque encounters is that while you might be thrilled to see them, the feeling is unlikely to be reciprocated, clown outfit or not. Duncansby Head: Stacks and Puffins - See 685 traveller reviews, 597 candid photos, and great deals for John O'Groats, UK, at Tripadvisor. Don't miss this after you have visited John O'Groats. John o’Groats and Duncansby Head Day Trip from Inverness, 3-Day Orkney Explorer Small-Group Tour from Inverness, Hotels near Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop, Points of Interest & Landmarks in John O'Groats, Boat Tours & Water Sports in John O'Groats, Puffin Croft Petting Farm & Farm Shop: Tickets & Tours‎, The Gallery at John O'Groats: Tickets & Tours‎. Well, of course you do if the little beast wanders up to you and looks cute. The kittiwake is easily recognised by…oh, never mind, let’s stick with those dang puffins. Anyway, there you are on the top of a cliff. Baby puffins are, apparently, pufflings. But remember, some of the places where you might see puffins are pretty much mixed in with where you’ll see the rest of their cousins. Above the cliffs are some very diverse coastal heathland and grassland habitats with special plants such as spring squill, thrift and roseroot. Both birds were strangled, their egg smashed. So, to conclude, I’d say it should be straightforward to nail your puffins, so long as you come between, say, April – but not too early – and August. During the walk you can see (in season) a wide variety of sea birds including Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Guillemots and Great Skuas amongst others. Also, here are some more suggestions for seeing wild nature in Scotland. The fact that you’ve spotted a few puffins will give you moderate bragging rights when you go back into the lounge, though not as much as casually remarking that you’d seen dolphin or killer whale. more. (See puffin tool-using – yes, really – lower down the page.). Most north east corner of mainland Britain. ‘ divorce rate ’ amongst puffins is between 7-13 % – so that s! Tame when you get close Old Red Sandstone cliffs are eroded into angular blocks ideal for fishing... Minutes away views came early on birds nesting on the cliffs of Moher and the Firth... 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