Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Troup Head

The view walking to Troup Head.  Even from this distance, the noise from all the birds was loud.
Troup Head is on the North coast of Scotland.  Getting there involved driving through Aberdeen (something we now studiously avoid!), up the East coast and cutting inland to come to the North coast.    Finding it involved talking to an elderly farmer with the most amazing Scottish rolling of RRRR's.  "Ye head rrrrrright up the rrrrroad then turrrn rrrrright and go thrrrrrrough the barrrn yard of the farrrm you can see on the hill. Therrrre are signs.  Oh ye have pick a bonny day to see the birrrrds!"  I should have asked him to repeat so I could have recorded it!

Troup Head belongs to the RSPB, Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds. They own thousands of acres of coast, forest and wetlands, all kept in as natural state as possible, to allow the birds to thrive.  The trails we walked were maintained, but primitive.

Looking over the cliff at the all those white dots, which are thousands of flying birds.
There were several couples out looking at the birds, just like us.  One was local, but the others were visiting.  All of us were in awe of the spectacle.  The RSPB says there are over 150,000 breeding seabirds here in the summer months!

Steep cliffs with nesting birds; how the babies don't fall out is a wonder.
On this day we saw Gannets, Shags, Herring Gulls, Kittiwakes, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Fulmars and a single Puffin.  Bill wasn't able to get pictures of all of them, as they were flying and diving for fish.

Thousands of birds on the rocks, a mixture of Gannets and Shags, which look similar to Cormorants.
The hike from the car park to the reserve was about a half mile; then the reserve extends along the cliffs.  The walking is uneven and hilly, making me wish for my hiking poles.  As soon as we arrived back home, they went into the boot of the car.
A pair of Gannets rubbing bills.  Troup Head is one of only two mainland Gannet colonies in the UK.

After looking through the binoculars for what seemed hours, I finally found ONE lonely little Puffin.

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