15/05/18. Skokholm: Chattering Guillemots on the cliffs of North Gully.

Skokholm is home to about two thousand Guillemots.  With their erect stance and funny waddle on land these lovely birds almost look like penguins from a distance.  They collect themselves in tight groups in precarious positions on the rocks and cliffs.  From a distance it looks as though they have pasted themselves onto the sheer walls.  Except when socialising (usually at the lower levels near the water), they stand facing inwards toward the cliff wall, and it almost seems like they are all praying to some higher being when you see them aligned in rows like this up the cliff face.

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On this evening (18:45) they were particularly vocal.  When one of their party would join a small group on the cliff the surrounding group would start chortling and chatting away.   I imagined a scene of old mates getting together and sharing the same old stories and jokes, and everyone laughs together as if it’s the first time they’ve heard them.

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The cliffs on Skokholm are a striking raspberry red colour, except where they appear to have formed an almost black, oxidised surface.   In the photograph at the top of this entry there is a patch on the lower right where that surface has split away, revealing the red below.

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