The puffins are undoubtedly the star turns of the summer at Sumburgh Head - in the spring the question on the lips of every visitor (including the local visitors) is "Are the puffins are back?". As the season goes on the question every year is "Have you been to see the puffins yet?" then finally (in August) it becomes "Are the puffins still around?". Maybe we need a big puffin clock marking off time in puffins?
And, I know I'm biased, but is there anywhere better to see puffins than Sumburgh Head? There are probably places to reliably see bigger groups of puffins, there might be places where you are more likely to get puffins wandering around your feet but I'm pretty sure there's nowhere where it's easier to see puffins. I'm also not aware of anywhere else where you watch puffins and eat fantastic cake at the same time.
Every summer I say that I'm going to keep track of how much time I spend at Sumburgh Head - and every year I lose track of the number of visits never mind the number of hours spent looking over the walls just watching what the puffins are up to.
So did I have a favourite picture from the 2021 Season?
In getting to this I found I needed to divide the pictures into three groups. Firstly, there's the puffins just hanging out on the cliff-tops category. I still can't decide the winner here - it's either the puffin in the rain or the puffin in the mayweed.
The next catagory is the pairs catagory - a heady mix of bill-rubbing and fighting! Favourite here might be the first picture (taken at the end of the season as the puffins are making plans to head out to sea)
And finally, the puffing category. I really don't think I've ever seen more pufflings at Sumburgh Head - I can think of three explanations - there were more pufflings this year, there were more pufflings in accessible burrows or I've just never spent as much time peering over the walls at Sumburgh Head!
And the winner of the puffling category...
I didn't give all the pufflings names, but this one is LB (it's a long story) posing beside his Mum (or possibly Dad) - and I think this is probably my favourite puffin picture of the season!
Next year? More of the same please. And more cake.