When we visited Orkney in May/June, we loved the different bird life we saw there, especially the seabirds around the dramatic rocky coastline.
But what we really wanted to see was the Puffins, we had done a little research and it seems these birds liked certain points on the Island more than others. The more windy and exposed the cliffs were the better it seems.
We first went to the Brough of Birsay, we had to wait for the tide to go out before we could walk over the causeway to the small Island. The ancient Viking settlement and graveyard was fascinating to walk around. Due to the safe position overlooking the shore you can see why this spot was chosen in an age where it seems battles were never far away.
Windy and exposed was certainly a feature of this rocky outcrop, where it looks like one side has sunk down whilst the other was jutting up and out into the North Sea. We battled up the hillside against the wind and walked around the top edge of the Island, where apparently the Puffins hang out on the cliff edges. After scanning the cliffs for about an hour we saw… one! Oh and a feral cat, which may or may not be connected.
The next Puffin adventure was to be the northern Island of Westray about an hours ferry ride from the mainland. We set off nice and early and first walked around some of the archaeological sites along the bay, this was brilliant as a team had had just uncovered a stone age well on the beach, still filling with Crystal clear water. Then it was off to see what we had come for, so we hopped back on the bus down to a spot on the coast known for Puffins, by this time it was very windy and starting to rain a little. There were various rocky stacks standing out from the cliff edges, and after binoculars were trained on the right spot, sure enough there were some Puffins. Not lots of them but enough, it was a joyful sight to see their clown like faces and made the weather trying to blow us over seem insignificant. Apparently the best time to see them is early in the morning or evening when the males are leaving or entering the burrow. Also, we were a little early in the month another week or so later and there are more to see, but we were happy we had met the little chappies even if it was through the binoculars.
So I have been keen to make my artwork into one of these birds ever since, and at the top of this page is the finished bird, it just needs its little wooden sign on the top to add yet. But I really enjoyed the process particularly the last bit where I added the details on it’s distinctive eye and beak which really brought it alive. It will be on display at a show we are doing at Scorton Village Hall, Lancashire this Sunday 23rd of August. So if you fancy coming along please do, lots of talented artisans will be there. Click here for more information.