Nature Notes

January 24, 2013

Orkney Birding: Westry

Filed under: Birds,Orkney Isles — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Atlantic Puffin

Noup HeadĀ  is a series of cliffs on the island of Westry which can be reached from a car ferry from the town of Kirkwall. The ferry over is excellent for auks, skuas, and gulls.

These cliffs are one of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Among the breeding species are Common Guillemot or Murre, Razorbill , Black Legged Kittiwake ,and Rock Pipits. In addition there has been a huge Arctic Tern colony containing over 10,000 birds. However on my last visit, there was almost no terns, apparently the local eel fish have been decimated by foreign fishing.

South of Noup Head is a rock formation called the Castle O’ Burrian at Stanger Head. The main attraction here is the Atlantic Puffin. There are 800 breeding pairsĀ  and you can watch them from very close at hand. You would be hard put to find a more enjoyable birding experience than spending a few hours watching the Puffin colony on a beautiful day.

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