It is the end of July and the seabird breeding frenzy is starting to quieten down on the island. But it is never a sudden end and the bird spectacle is still here but the mix and make up is gradually changing. The cliffs tenements have good numbers of kittiwakes and, better still after a successful breeding year, kittiwakes chicks which are doing their best to keep up the noise levels. The shags have mostly finished nesting though there are young shags standing sentinel on rocks and ledges all round the island. The gulls, all 10 000 of them plus extra lodgers keep the island atmosphere going with their constant noise as they struggle to feed whining brown chicks on nearly every bit of flat land. The guillemots and razorbills have virtually vacated the cliffs but the other island auk, the puffin is still on or around the island. Fewer adult puffins are zipping in with fish to feed chicks now but there are thousands of puffins still hanging around the island doing some end of season socialising. Some days they are rafting up on the sea but over the next few weeks we still expect some “puffin days” when they pile onto the island and gather every rock to pair up, check out neighbours and suitable housing and generally passing the time of day.
The good things is that this thinning out of the birds just gives you a chance to take a deep breath after the heaving masses and concentrate on those that are still here.