From red squirrels to golden eagles, eastern Scotland is home to some of Britain’s best-loved wildlife
In a boat full of twitchers, amateur photographers and American missionaries from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, I’m heading to the Isle of May to witness a sight few of us will forget. Five miles away, off the coast of Fife, 42,000 expectant mothers each sit on a single, precious egg in underground burrows while their mates keep watch for prowling gulls. Puffin-nesting season is in full swing.
On a calm day, it is possible to spot dolphins and even humpback and minke whales en route to the island. Not this particular morning, though. The sea is rough and sick bags are passed around with a jocular “No 5p charge today!” Even so, the feeling of anticipation is palpable – and not just among our motley crew. Approaching the island, the sound of squawking seabirds is reaching fever pitch. Visiting gannets (wingspan 6ft) from their home on Bass Rock waft overhead and bespectacled guillemots in their trademark dinner jackets stand cheek to cheek on the tiered, white guano-splattered cliffs, like a gathering of miniature grooms atop a wedding cake.