Published: 11 April, 2021

After 8 long months at sea, the wait is finally over as these hardy little seabirds return for another breeding season here at Sumburgh Head. Their arrival is hotly anticipated each spring with eyes turning to the sea from the end of March, hoping to see the first few Puffins venturing closer to land.

They usually arrive back to the cliffs beneath Sumburgh Head Lighthouse during the first week of April. We were excited to see the first few Puffins bobbing about on the water like rubber ducks from 1st April, so we were hoping for an early return to the cliffs, but then, from 4th April, Shetland was plunged back into winter with hail, snow and biting winds.

By Saturday 10th the winds dropped away, and the skies turned blue, giving us renewed optimism that the Puffins would make it to land very soon. Our optimism was not misplaced as the first 30 Puffins were seen on the cliffs this morning, with more seen in-flight, whizzing by the cliffs as if trying to find their burrow or their mate. Even though Puffins mate for life, they spend the winter apart. Over the coming days we hope to see more of these captivating seabirds, and we’ll be looking out for particular behaviours, like bill-rubbing as adult Puffin re-establish the pair bond.

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