Puffins on the Isle of Staffa

Puffins on the Isle of Staffa

The Isle of Staffa is a beautiful and uninhabited (approximately 80 acres) small rocky island off the west coast of Mull that is home to a fascinating and comical seabird – the Puffin.

These small little birds are often called sea parrots because of their vivid colours. To get to the Isle of Staffa, you have to take a ferry.

There are important colonies of seabirds that breed on Staffa and as you approach the island during the summer months, you will notice the variety of birds flying to and from the island.

It is home to hundreds of seabirds and set within waters teeming with marine life.  The island is the nesting place for a whole range of species including these the most delightful puffins.

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puffin in staffa

I have wanted to go and see puffins for so long. I wasn’t disappointed, Puffins are a particular favourite with visitors because of their brightly coloured beaks and clown-like appearance.

Puffins nest in burrows and rocky crannies around Staffa where they lay one egg during the summer months. You have to be careful when walking on the high hill top as they may be nesting under foot. Their main food is sand eels which they catch by diving up to 60 m into the sea. 

They waddle slightly, yet they’re much better on land than in the air. They fly awkwardly and land with very little grace touching down unsteadily. Watching them come in to land is quite funny, I found myself fearing for their lives as they come crashing into land on the very high up rocks with shear drops directly behind them.

2 puffins

During the spring and summer months the Atlantic Puffins come ashore from the open ocean to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles to breed. These amazing little birds can be seen diving into the water and return with a mouthful of sand eels.

The birds are very approachable and seem quite content to let visitors get very close. Staffa Island is one of the best places in the UK in which to take puffin pictures.

Once our ferry arrived at landing point we clambered off and saw the rocky hill facing us, this was our walk to the puffins. Up a steep hill rocky, muddy and often slippery, this was quite difficult for a couple of passengers on boat as they found it very tricky juggling the conditions of the walk, however once you had mastered this there was the most amazing sight of puffins everywhere you looked.

a puffin raising wing

They make such cute funny noises and really look at you coming so close. Less than 2 feet away, often making it difficult to photograph as they were too close.

I was thrilled to watch a mum take eels to her new born pufflin, you see them disappear into the hillside nest, just hearing their noises as they take the feed. Lying down on the grass hill tops facing puffins less than 3 feet away was a perfect way to spend my time.

puffin with small fishes

I was thrilled to have spent 3 hours or so with the puffins and can’t wait to go back and spend longer with them next time.

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