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Isle of Lunga

puffin-607

© Tim Dawson

Puffins

Puffins are a great favourite with visitors because of their brightly coloured beaks and clownish appearance. They spend most of the year at sea, returning to land from April to July to breed, and going away again in early August.

They arrive offshore in March/April, gathering in 'rafts' on the sea, and then gradually come ashore to start nesting. They nest in burrows at the top of the cliffs, and will use the same burrow year after year. A single egg is laid, and hatched in May/June. The parents both care for the chick, and can be seen bringing sand eels in their beaks.

Puffin

© Sealife Surveys

In early August the parents leave the nest and the chick follows after a few days, usually at night. The puffins gather on the sea again before flying away.

The puffins on Lunga are unafraid of people, and it is easy to creep to within a few feet of the nest openings. An ideal opportunity for photography. Please do not walk over the burrows. Many people are surprised to discover that the puffin is only about the size of a pigeon.

Harp Rock

© Sealife Surveys

Other sea-birds

Other birds nesting on Lunga include Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills and Shags. The latter tend to nest under cover in small caves or crevices beneath rocks, but the others gather in huge colonies on the sea stack on Lunga's west side. The noise (and smell) is considerable, but well worth the half mile walk from the landing place. Do this first, and then go back to the puffins.

guillemot

© Tim Dawson

Visiting Lunga

From North and Central Mull:

You can visit Lunga with Turus Mara from Ulva Ferry

From SW Mull and Iona:

Gordon Grant Marine from Fionnphort or Iona.

Times vary, please visit the operators' web sites for details and booking.

The trip takes about five hours, and usually includes a visit to Staffa either on the way out or on the return leg.

Note that the puffins go back to sea about the first week in August, so there are no trips to Lunga after that time.

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