• Katie

Birsay, Sunshine and Puffins!

Today I had a wonderful day out exploring the beautiful views of Orkney (more on that later) and I thought isn't it a shame our usual visitors aren't here to enjoy the wonderful weather we are having at the moment. Yes, 19 degrees with sunshine and no wind means everyone is out in their shorts and swimming in the sea! It feels like midsummer and I for one am enjoying it. Normally we don't get to embrace the summer as much because we are busy running the B&B. Don't get me wrong I love my job and being able to welcome people from all over the world to enjoy all that Orkney has to offer, however, I am enjoying having time to also be a tourist!

So today I made the journey from our B&B along the coast via Evie to Birsay. If you time it right with the tides there is a walkway across the water to the tidal island of the Brough of Birsay where there are the remains of a Viking settlement, along with a lighthouse and wonderful views. This is also one of the best places on the island to spot the wonderful illusive little Puffins who come to Orkney to breed every year between June - August.

So on this hot summers day, I set out with my wee four-legged friend in tow to go on a peddie puffin hunt.

After making my way across the causeway I headed straight across the island to the lighthouse. Looking backwards you can see the whole of Birsay including Earls Palace, Marwick Head and the Kitchener memorial.

From the lighthouse, you can see down the cliffs to the beautiful clear water and of course lots of Kittiwakes. The fragrance of the wildflowers also hit me with sea thrift and birdsfoot trefoil.

I walked to the west side of the lighthouse and along the cliff edge looking back carefully to see what birds were hiding along the cliff edges. Here I sat for a while looking back towards the lighthouse and watched birds coming and going onto the rocks. I found a few puffins hiding here so was very pleased to get some pictures. After sitting for a while I carried on along the edge of the island back round towards the causeway, I am often cautious when on the Brough of Birsay that the tide might come in and strand me there! Don't worry though as there is plenty of time to walk the whole of the island.

Just as I was happily on my way back admiring the views and photographing the flowers I found this wee chappy close to the path just sitting. I was so pleased as I was beginning to lose hope on a proper close up with a puffin. He happily sat there on his ledge having a stretch and a yawn whilst being the perfect model for some pictures.

After seeing that lovely puffin I was on cloud nine! I walked the rest of the way along the cliffs and back to the car. By the time we were walking back across the causeway, there were a lot more people about including children swimming in the small rock pools.

It certainly was a bonny day possibly the best since lockdown!

Also in Birsay is Earls Palace and Birsay Bay Tearooms, both worth a visit. A day out to add to any trip to Orkney.

Til next time, Katie

#orkney #puffins #wildlife #wildflowers #visitorkney

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