Snapshots #28: Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Snapshots #28: Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Sumburgh head is part of a headland at the southernmost tip of the mainland in the Shetland isles. As well as it’s iconic lighthouse, Sumburgh head is recognised as a wildlife reserve thanks to its 100m rocky cliff being home to a variety of seabirds such as fulmers, guillemots and puffins.

sumburgh head

Unfortunately seabird populations have been on the decline in the UK since 2000, puffins being the main bird looking at a dramatic decline

puffins at sumurgh head

Puffins are iconic seabirds, easily identifiable by their bold black and white bodies and colourful beaks. Standing at just under a foot (30cm) these small burrowing birds sustain themselves on a diet of fish, in particular sand eels.

puffin at sumburgh head

guillemots and razor bills at sumburgh head

Guillemots spend most of their life at sea, coming into land for mating season. Easily confused with razorbills, guillemots are more of a dark brown than the jet black of a razorbill.

fulmer sleeping

My favourite seabird has to be the fulmar. Being a gull-like seabird, the fulmar seems to have an adventurous existence, flying and gliding around for amusement. They are very social creatures and will feed in flocks out at sea. They defend their nests from intruders by spitting out a foul-smelling oil. Be warned, the foul-smelling oil will ruin any clothing that comes into contact with it!

Fulmar colony at sumburgh head
Fulmar colony

If you enjoyed this post please give it a like and comment and let me know what your favourite seabird is!

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