Puffin Island is a small uninhabited island located off the coast of Anglesey, North Wales. As its name suggests, the island is famous for its population of puffins, but it’s also home to a variety of other seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots, and cormorants. In this article, we’ll explore the history of Puffin Island and why it’s called that. We’ll also look at the different ways to visit the island and what you can expect to see once you get there.
Puffin Island’s History and Naming
The Welsh name for Puffin Island is Ynys Seiriol, named after Saint Seiriol who is said to have founded a monastery on the island in the 6th century. The island has been inhabited at various times throughout history, with records dating back to the Roman period. It was also used as a place of retreat for the Welsh princes during the Middle Ages.
However, it’s the island’s abundant puffin population that has made it famous. Puffins were once known as “sea parrots” due to their colorful beaks and comical appearance. They were also highly prized for their meat and feathers, and the birds were hunted on Puffin Island until the early 20th century.
Today, the island is a protected nature reserve and hunting of puffins is strictly prohibited. The population of puffins on Puffin Island has since recovered and is now estimated to be around 6,000 breeding pairs, making it one of the largest colonies of Atlantic puffins in the United Kingdom.
Visiting Puffin Island
Puffin Island is only accessible by boat and there are several options available for visitors. The most common way to visit is by taking a boat tour from the nearby town of Beaumaris. These tours typically last around two hours and take visitors around the island, allowing them to see the various seabirds and other wildlife up close.
Another option for visiting Puffin Island is by taking a kayak tour. Kayaking around the island provides a more immersive experience, allowing visitors to get closer to the seabirds and explore the island’s rugged coastline. Kayak tours are typically led by experienced guides who can provide information on the island’s history and wildlife.
What to See on Puffin Island
As mentioned earlier, Puffin Island is home to a variety of seabirds, but the most famous residents are the puffins. Visitors can expect to see thousands of puffins during breeding season, which runs from April to August. During this time, the puffins can be seen flying back and forth to the island with fish in their beaks to feed their chicks.
Other seabirds that can be seen on Puffin Island include razorbills, guillemots, cormorants, and shags. These birds can be seen perched on the island’s rocky cliffs or diving into the surrounding waters in search of fish.
In addition to the seabirds, Puffin Island is also home to a variety of other wildlife such as grey seals and porpoises. Visitors may even be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or a minke whale in the waters around the island.
Puffin Island is a fascinating place to visit for anyone interested in wildlife or history. Its abundant population of puffins and other seabirds make it a must-visit destination for birdwatchers, while its rich history and rugged coastline make it a popular spot for kayaking and other outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in exploring the island’s natural beauty or its cultural heritage, Puffin Island is definitely worth a visit.