The one thing that hits you when you step onto the Staple Islands, apart from the stench and noise and other seabirds, is the vast number of guillemots all closely huddled together on the surrounding cliffs. Perhaps this is a tactic employed to deter predators as you have to look very closely to spot their young. As an adult arrives back from sea with its catch it is initially quite chaotic as they try to find their spot (a needle in a haystack comes to mind). Regularly patrolled by hungry gulls who are after an easy meal, the loud and unique sounding roar of the vast colony as the Gull gets close is magical.
I recently went on my first ever photographic trip to the Farne Islands which are located off the coast of Northumberland. The aim of the day was to view and photograph the annual event of numerous species of breeding sea birds, including puffins, razorbills and guillemots, which inhabit the islands during the summer months. I did not expect the trip to disappoint and I was proved correct; the noise and stench of tens of thousands of sea birds was chaotic and quite simply a spectacle to behold. Although much documented, an encounter with an arctic tern is both noisy and interesting – they will do anything to protect their chicks, and a peck on the head from what is quite a powerful beak requires the wearing of a hat. Notwithstanding this, the arctic terns are an elegant looking sea bird and appear quite angelic, particularly when in-flight.