“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Wednesday 6 July 2016

RSPB Fowlsheugh Bird Sanctuary

Since our return to Bonnie Scotland, I have wanted to revisit the RSPB Fowlsheugh Bird Santuary and last week I actually managed to do just that. 
It's only a short drive from Aberdeen so we are very lucky. 
The spectacular cliffs at Fowlsheugh are packed with approximately 130,000 breeding seabirds at this time of year, from Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and my personal favourite... the Puffin. It's possible also to see grey seals, dolphins and minke whales too, if you are lucky. 
But before we start our visit, perhaps I should warn you that this post contains a lot of photographs and if you have vertigo, then maybe this post isn't for you.
So watch your step and let's head to the edge of the cliffs....
The weather was a mixed bag on the day... we got both wet and sunburnt!
(Just a typical summer day in Aberdeenshire)

I'm always surprised by three things when visiting the santuary.
Firstly, that there are no railings, fencing or any restrictions on the clifftops. 
Secondly, the smell can be quite pungent shall we say and thirdly the noise is incredible.
But the views are spectacular.
Breath-taking in fact.
Yes, once I got into photographic mode, I had to be reminded not to step too near the edge.
I tend to get a compelling feeling that I'm being pulled if I get too near the edge, especially whilst looking down to the sea crashing onto the cliffs.
Obviously the birds don't suffer this... looking at the tiny ledge they call home.
Did you spot them? 
In the photo above it shows the closest that I could get to the baby birds.
It was a very precarious perch... I mean me... not the bird!
I was amazed to see flowers growing... they must be hardy to survive here.
You might think that you are just looking at the cliff face, but let me tell you that that cliff is teaming with life. How they perch on to the rock face is beyond me.
Here's a closer look at just how many birds are nesting here. 
The mind boggles as to how they find the right nest when they return from a visit out to sea.
It appears that no perch is beyond their reach.
As we passed other visitors we asked if they had been successful in seeing any Puffins. 
It was on my wish list to see these incredible birds, especially as they have been placed on the endangered list. 
One chap in full camouflage gear carrying enough camera equipment to sink a battle ship, said that he'd seen only few, as numbers were down this year. 
I began to think I'd be unsuccessful in my quest yet again.
Well the view certainly made up for any disappointment.
But with the aid of rather strong binoculars and my very own Twitcher 
(that's a bird watcher for those who may not have heard of this term before) 
we found two pairs of Puffins! 
They were situated on the grass bank near that cave (shown in above photo)
We watched as one parent returned numerous times to the nest with their bill full of sand eels. 
Unfortunately, I still haven't purchased that zoom lens, so I haven't managed to get a photo for you, but I can't tell you how happy I was and I may even have done a little happy dance, if I hadn't been so near the edge of the cliff.
I'm linking today to Wordless (on Tuesday at image-in-ing) and Mersad ~ Photography Through My Lens
If you'd like to read more about the RSPB Bird Sanctuary then click Here
Scotland does have amazing scenery and I hope to show you more soon.
Thank you for spending some time with me.
Have a great day and hopefully I'll see you again soon.


  1. Always wanted to see a Puffin, and like you I need a long zoom, the 200mm does not quite cut it when I have Red Kites flying over our house

    1. Even though I've seen them through the binoculars Bill, I would still like to see them up closer. One flew really close to us, they
      fly really fast, but we managed to see the sand eels tightly clasped in his beak! Brilliant.
      There could well have been more puffins nesting in the undergrowth which we missed along with the Eider Ducks (we saw evidence of their nests, and discarded egg shells, but alas not the ducks or ducklings)
      You must have such a spectacular sight having red kites flying over head. I've only seen two since being back, but I hope they settle near.

  2. I am so glad you took me on that wonderful tour with your stunning photos as I would never be able to do it in the flesh. Much as I would love to see puffins nothing could induce me to go within 20 feet of the edge. Brave girl to take those pics

    1. I'm glad that you came along with me Pam. It is spectacular, but you have to have a head for that sort of thing. Once I was on my mission... all thoughts of the cliff edge went out of my head. I just wanted to take photos. It's a good job I had someone to remind me to take a step back! Hopefully if I go again I will be able to get a photo of the pufflings too.

  3. Replies
    1. They certainly are Debra, I spend the first part of my day filling up three feeding stations around my house... but I love it. They are so fascinating and we are seeing so many varieties now.

  4. I remember visiting the penguin exhibit at Sea World in Florida years ago. The smell was overpowering--and they were behind glass! I've thought of the intense aroma and the noise level every time I watch the nature shows on wild birds breeding areas like you visited. But what a treat to actually be able to visit AND see puffins!! :)

    1. It was indeed a treat Rita and to be so near to where we live too. Although the smell was powerful it was made bearable because we were outside. You just had to try to keep upwind!

  5. wonderful photos :) I keep meaning to go and try to see Puffins and any other bird really, just need to find the time, maybe next year :)

    1. It's taken me three years to fit in this little trip Jennifer. I remember visiting the site when we last lived here, but the birds had left. I was determined to see them when they were nesting.
      We are lucky that they are located so near to us.

  6. Wow - what a ruggedly marvelous place!
    Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/07/happy-independence-day.html

    1. I thought you might like it Sue, it is pretty special and we are so lucky because it's so near where we live!

  7. Hi Neesie, my first time here, first time to read about that bird puffin. I wonder if that is some kind of seagull. There's a lot of birds in that area, surely they don't run out of food there. Scotland is one of the few countries in my dream world, however no luck to see it yet. Fortunately, i have a close friend who left last night to attend a conference there, oh how envious i am. Anyway, hopefully next life i can visit.

    1. There were lots of different kinds of birds such as Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Puffins. I'm thinking you might be looking at the Kittiwakes that are part of the Gull family.
      I think there's plenty of food out there in the North Sea, especially seeing the Puffin come back to the nest with it's bill packed with sand eels!
      Never say never Andrea, I didn't think I'd live in so many different countries but I did. I'm wondering where your close friend might be visiting. The summer hasn't been too good so far.

  8. What a fabulous coastline, the rocks are magestic

    1. Aren't they just Margaret, I love this coastline and feel very lucky that we live so close to it.


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