No huffin’, just puffins on island trip

Cerys MacArthur, 12, captures puffin pictures on Lunga.

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Tayvallich Wildlife Club was on a puffin-sighting mission mission earlier this month when members travelled to some of Argyll’s islands.t

The animal aficionados, some of whom had never been on a boat or camped out in the wild before, made their way to Mull before visiting surrounding islands including the Treshnish Isles.

Also on the agenda was a stop at Staffa for some puffin-spotting, near the island’s world-famous Fingal’s Cave.

But it wasn’t composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebridean Overture, said to be inspired by the acoustics of its mighty basalt columns, that was music to the group’s ears – but the sound of puffin growls and the bright-beaked sea birds gathering in numbers just offshore.

The club was then treated to close encounters with the friendly birds when onshore at Lunga.

Mary-Lou Aitchison, Tayvallich Wildlife Club member and one of the trip organisers, explained: ‘It was the first time for some of the group going to the islands off our coastline, and camping out was a bit different for some, too.

‘We travelled to the magnificent Fingal’s Cave but also to Lunga in the Treshnish Isles where we saw a huge number of puffins.

‘It was a real highlight of the weekend. The birds are calm as long as you are quiet, still and lying down at their level.

‘Iain, our captain (on Turus Mara) did a brilliant job at keeping their interest and he
steered us so that we all got great views.

‘This fantastic trip was very generously sponsored by a travel grant from the Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Mid Argyll, and the Argyll Bird Club, which enabled us to take our members on the trip of a lifetime.’

Eight-year-old Lena, one of the group’s budding ornithologists, was highly impressed by the nimble puffins, adding: ‘The puffins were really cute, especially how they flew. They don’t look like they’re made for flying!’