20th June 2019

Razorbills- just back from a wonderful holiday along the east coast of Scotland and Orkney, away from crowds and wi-fi (which explains the lull in blogs!) we had the chance to watch cliffs full of birds in several places. Razorbills are second only to Puffins in my favourite list at cliff such spots and these were at Fowlsheugh, south of Stonehaven (you won’t see them between the Humber and the Isle of Wight).  They nest on cliff

Razorbill, attempting to land on nest-site

Razorbill, readying to land on cliff

Razorbill taking off


ledges and rocks, often lower than most Guillemots which they nest near, and they have darker backs than their cousin Guillemots, and broader bills with clean, white markings on bills and wings. They are necessarily equally acrobatic, as they try to land on and leave these crowded, narrow nest-sites. Like their fellow auks (Puffins and Guillemots) they have evolved their shape as a compromise between flying and underwater swimming, which is how they catch fish and small crustaceans. Hence their wings are short and they have to flap them fast to fly.  Conditions: Showery (It has been drier on our trip than for many parts of England!) Temperature: Max 16 Min 8C.

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