Every March the puffins which nest on the islands around the western coastline of Mull, migrate from their winter location out in the Atlantic to form rafts of birds on the surface of the sea near their nesting sites. In April they gradually venture on land to nest, usually returning to the same burrow at the top of the cliffs each year. Weather permitting, our Around Mull: Inlets and Islands Cruise and Wildlife Cruise will explore these amazing islands and visit the nesting sites, while ensuring our presence does not disturb the birds. The puffins which nest on the islands around Mull are not afraid of humans and you can get very close. One theory is that puffins have worked out that their main predator, the Skua will not come near when humans are around.
Puffins nest on the uninhabited Treshnish Isles and the Isle of Staffa alongside other seabird species. Rightly famous for Fingal’s Cave and Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Staffa is also an important wildlife habitat and a geological wonder. The largest of the Treshnish Isles is Lunga, where we go ashore to see puffins at close quarters. We cruise past Dun Cruit (the Harp Rock stack) where puffins nest in the company of guillemot, razorbill, shag, kittiwake, skua and fulmar.
Puffins are a great favourite with our guests because of their brightly coloured beaks and clownish appearance. However they have impressive abilities – puffins can dive to over 60 metres with ease for sand eels; they fly at up to 55 miles an hour, can move quickly on land and live to over 60 years of age.
Puffins tend to mate for life, laying one egg which hatches in May or June. Both parents care for the chick, taking turns incubating and bringing sand eels gathered neatly head to tail in their beaks. Puffins are one of the few birds that have the ability to hold up to 12 small fish in their bills at a time.
Puffins leave the nesting sites from mid-August, but can still be seen at sea from our cruises until the end of the season.
We have only 2 cabins left on our April 2017 Mull Cruises and 4 cabins on our May 2017 Mull cruises – are you ready for some puffin therapy?? Check our calendar here>