I’m hanging over the edge of a 75 metre high cliff looking down at the dizzying heights below. The smell of a seabird city is all about us and the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean and the buffeting of the wind is in our ears.
It’s a long way down. There appears to be a strict hierarchy of nesting here, with layer upon layer of different species of birds. Some of the ledges are incredibly narrow. That explains why cliff-nesting birds’ eggs are unusually pointed; so if they do roll they roll in a tight circle and don’t drop off.
Gannets’ nests are messy heaps of seaweed and sometimes discarded netting. Their chicks have already grown and are ridiculously big to still be in down feathers. The parents guard them devotedly.
There’s a lot of ritual when parents come home from a hard session of diving for fish. There’s head shaking and bill touching and preening to greet each other.
It almost looks tender.
One looks directly up the cliff towards me. It’s slightly unnerving:
In flight they are powerful and their flight is controlled. They are wonderful to watch. We stay here for hours.
There’s a warm glow from the setting sun over the Atlantic.
We’re hungry and it’s time to go home. The shops are shut and we haven’t got any fish.