Puffins

Mingulay, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.  Day 16 , 14th July.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

On Mingulay I also got the opportunity to photograph puffins.  Most photographs of puffins you will see show them sitting on the ground.  In some places they will come quite close to you.  Photographing them in the air is much harder because they are small and surprisingly quick.

.

.

.

I was also expecting to see them in Iceland but they had gone by the time I go there.  It all depends on their seasonal supply of sand eels.

.

.

.

Not everything is easy in a puffin’s life.  This is a skua, a predator.

.

.

.

These are Atlantic Puffins.  There are also two other species of puffin in the Pacific, as well as a closely related species the Rhinoceros Auklet.  They are also related to the extinct Giant Auk.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Their nesting area is very close to the old village.  They would definitely have been a food source for the islanders, both them and their eggs, though perhaps they chose a more remote location when the villagers were still there.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Here they nest in burrows in the ground, which requires a remote island, free I would think of feral cats.  In other places they may nest in cliffs.

.

.

.

.

Mingulay

Mingulay, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.  Day 16 , 14th July.

.

.

A couple of dolphins from the bow of the ship.  Some of the others got better photographs of them than me.

.

.

.

A curiosity.  A fully restored cottage with people inside plus the derelict skeleton of a connected building.

.

.

.

Mingulay is part of the Barra Islands, in a chain of the islands of the Outer Hebrides stretching down from Lewis and Harris and UistMingulay is the southernmost apart from Berneray.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Mingulay was always a harsh place to live.  There were no good harbours and the island could be effectively inaccessible by sea for months at a time.  It was not affected by the clearances and in fact the population increased with refugees from other islands.  Ultimately, the islanders decided that life here was not sufficiently viable and left by 1912.

.

.

.

This is the remains of “the Village”, the only settlement on the island.  An iron age midden was also found nearby.   The island has a long history of settlement.  There is an iron age dun and other traces of ancient settlement further south.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The village has been largely buried by sand blown up by storms.  Here we see the lintel of a doorway so the sand must be from four to seven feet deep.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.