We are very lucky to have one of the world's cutest birds visit our coastlines every year. I don't know anyone that doesn't like Puffins. Not only are they beautiful to photograph, but they are also very entertaining to watch.
In the UK we only get one species of Puffin, the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica). These birds are a familiar sight on many coastal cliffs and islands in the UK during the breeding season, which typically runs from late April to early August. Atlantic puffins are easily recognized by their distinctive colorful beaks and striking black-and-white plumage. They are known for their characteristic waddling gait and their ability to dive up to 60 meters (200 feet) underwater in search of fish.
I love visiting different places to photograph wildlife but I have to say, two Islands go straight to the top of my list when it comes to photographing Puffins and they are Skomer Island and Lunga Island.
Lunga is a small, uninhabited island located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, not too far from Mull. Lunga Island is known for its stunning natural beauty and wildlife, including puffins, razorbills, guillemots, and seals.
This island is rugged, with steep cliffs and rocky shores and the coastline is dotted with caves, arches, and stacks. There are no toilets on the Island and you need take a boat on sometimes rough seas to get there, a wild, wildlife experience.
Skomer Island is a small island located off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales and it is definetly more popular. You will have to book your boat ride well in advance to enjoy this stunning Island. Skomer Island is home to a large population of puffins, which are one of the island's biggest draws for visitors but it is also home to a variety of other seabirds, including razorbills, guillemots, and kittiwakes. You may also be lucky enough to spot some seals, dolphins and porpoises.
Aside from the wildlife, Skomer has beautiful flora. Depending on teh month you visit, you may be treated to a wonderful display of wildflowers or heather.
There are plenty of other places to photohgraph puffins in the UK, such as Bempton Cliffs, Puffin Island and The Farne Islands. I would encourage anyone intrested in photography to spend some time with a Puffin colony, you will truly have a great time even if you don't get fantastic photos.
Puffin Photography top tips:
1: Give yourself a good chance by choosing somewhere that has a large colony that nest on the grassy cliff tops, not just on the cliff sides.
2: Go somewhere that alloows you to stay with the Puffins for atleast 3 hours. The time will FLY by (no pun intended) and you will wish you had longer!
3: Use a zoom lens of atleast 300mm so you can stand back and give the Puffins space to move around undisturbed.
4. Try out action shots as well as portrait images, but be patient with yourself as these little birds are very fast!
I would encourage anyone intrested in photography to spend some time photographing amongst a Puffin colony, you will truly have a great time even if you don't get fantastic photos.