The Isle of May – Puffin Watching! By Nicole Duncan

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Scotland you should definitely try and make your way over to the Isle of May. The Isle of May is a small island located off the East coast of Scotland and is a National Nature Reserve site. Considering it is a tiny island, it is home to a huge amount of of wildlife including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants, Terns and Grey Seals and although there are no permanent residents there are often people staying there for a few days to study the animals and plants.

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The only way you can get to the island is by taking a boat trip from Anstruther or Crail, it takes around an hour, but no worries, there is a bar on the boat!!

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Once you land you get a quick talk about the island and what to expect and then you are set on your way. One bt of advice I would strongly recommend that you follow is to **stay out of the way of the Terns!    The season in which the boat trips happen also coincides with breeding season and this makes them very territorial and they will swoop and peck at you if they think that you are too close to their nests. Be warned they do actually hit you, I learned this the hard way!

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Once you get past the terrors that are the Terns, the rest of the trip is far more relaxing! You are left to wander around the island using the paths that have been marked out, avoiding the 46,000 puffin nests that are hidden in the surrounding earth. The abundance of wildlife around the island is incredible and for anyone even slightly interested in photography it is an absolute dream.

There is also a huge population of seals on the island and one of them decided to follow us around for a while! We also even managed to catch a glimpse of a dolphin but unfortunately we weren’t able to get any pictures of them.

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The main reason for taking this trip however is to see the puffins and you literally couldn’t miss them as there are over 100,000 of them on the island at the height of summer!

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Top Tips for the Isle of May:

**Dress for cold weather/rain, have layers so you can take them off if you are warm.

**Take a hat or a jacket with a hood to save you from the Tern attacks!

**Take a packed lunch as there are no shops on the island and you can only buy snacks and drinks on the boat.

**Make sure your camera is fully charged as you will have LOADs of things you will want to take photos of.

You get to stay on the island for just under three hours, so this gives you pleanty of time to take all the photographs you would like and then once you return to the mainland, make sure and visit the Anstruther Fish and Chip bar – it has won the best chippy in Scotland for several years and it certainly lives up to the name!

N.