Solo around St Abbs

Formed by lava flows from volcanoes that were active some 400 million years ago, the cliffs that make up St Abbs Head provide a spectacular backdrop for the kayaker and are renowned for the populations of breeding birds found here...

A solo trip around the head from Coldingham bay, in December, was never going to provide much of an opportunity for bird spotting; it did provide some exciting exploration of the bays, geos, caves and stacks as well as some gripping moments amongst the clapotis beneath the lighthouse...

Unfortunately, the camera failed on this trip. I'll just have to go back, perhaps in the spring to see the birds, although it is perhaps worth reflecting upon the fact that many of the principle species are in decline:

Puffins - Just 13 birds were counted ashore in June 2008

Guillemots - a decrease of 18% since the last (5 yearly) count in 2003

Kittiwakes - a decrease of 18% compared to a count of apparently occupied nests in 2007 - the lowest in 40 years and indicating a population that numbers less than one quarter of the size found here in 1989...

Interestingly, talking with Scottish Natural Heritage earlier this year in Shetland, it was the shallow feeders (ie Puffins that feed on sandeels found high in the water) that were suffering most. Birds such as Gannets, that dive more deeply for larger fish, were 'doing well'.

Climate Change? Acidification of the world's oceans? Overfishing? Whatever the cause, the reality of these changes and the plight of such iconic species is hard to ignore.