There's something about the puffin that endears this little creature to the nation's heart. Orkney has some great sites to see these perennial visitors, who come to the islands each year between May and August to breed.

Orkney has some great puffin-watching sites and perhaps the best is at Castle of Burrian in the isle of Westray. Here, you can sit for hours on the cliffside and observe these charming birds hunting for fish in the surrounding seas. The RSPB reserve at the Old Man of Hoy, Noup Head in Westray and the isle of Copinsay are also worth visiting.

Known affectionately on Orkney as a tammie norrie, the puffin can appear clumsy on land and rather comical, but don't be deceived by first impressions. It is an expert diver, plunging into the sea from a height of 100 feet in search of its favourite meal - sand eels. Puffins have a healthy appetite and eat a wide variety of fish thus preserving healthy species numbers.

Puffins lay just one precious egg each year and once in flight chicks will make no landfall for the first two years of their lives. There are reputed to be 61,000 puffins in Orkney, but of this impressive number all but 2,000 of them nest on the remote Sule Skerry, 40 miles west of the Mainland.

Wildlife & Nature - Listings