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  • A Far North Naturalist

Where did the summer go?

Fledging so soon? Wow! How quickly things change. Many of the Kittiwake chicks are close to fledging, a week away at a guess from being ‘fledgable’.

Guillemot chicks are ‘willocking’, ie making a sound that indicates they’ll soon be leaping from the nest site, just one-third grown but prepared to swim out to sea with dad.

Puffins are bringing fish into their burrows and immature birds are joining the mass of adults indulged in ‘wheeling’ flights, and being part of the audiences watching disputes between nesting adults!

Immature (‘teenage’) auks are on the periphery of the nesting areas and indulging in socialising, that will prepare them for pairing in the near future.

The cliffs and rocks beneath are covered in guano and the smell is almost overpowering!

To think that in a few weeks time the cliffs will be so much quieter, with only the Fulmars present, the downy chicks large enough to be left alone for many hours by foraging parents.

Where did the summer go?

I‘ve been poor with my reporting. As well as the cliff-nesting seabirds, I’ve seen Sea Eagle on numerous occasions. I’ve seen two nests of Red Grouse each containing 10 eggs, and subsequently I’ve seen numerous chicks. Nests of Skylark and Meadow Pipit too! Peregrine falcon three times and Red-throated Divers every time.

On the sea cliffs I’ve seen flowers that include Scots Lovage, Sea Campion and Scurv-grass.

It‘s not too late this year to join me on a hike to this amazing location.

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