Puffin – Dancing Ledge, Dorset

After seeing the Squacco Heron and then dropping off four large framed images for a new restaurant at Durdle Door I decided to try for the Puffins at Dancing Ledge. I parked in Langton Matravers in the National Trust Car Park at Spyway. It’s then a 20 minute walk to the ledge with the last 5 minutes steeply down hill.

There were huge numbers of people here, presumably because it was the bank holiday weekend and the start of half term. There seemed to be several school groups rock climbing and coasteering. There were also loads of yachts and speedboats racing past off shore. Overall, it seemed that there was too much going on for Puffins to be close by.

I wasn’t 100% sure that Puffins still bred here or how many pairs remained if they did (I later read that there are around 4 pairs in the area). I had in mind that the Puffins were slightly to the east of the ledge and so concentrated my search in that direction. There were plenty of Guillemots and Razorbills both on the water and flying to and from the cliffs, but there were no Puffins. 

After a while I decided to walk further east to see if I could get better views and see more of them.  No luck and in the end I decided that I would try walking west from Dancing Ledge. By now I’d been scanning for 2 hours. When I was in a suitable position to the west of Dancing Ledge I climbed over the fence and got really close to the edge so that I could see birds near to the foot of the cliffs. One of the first birds I saw in my binoculars was a Puffin! 

I eventually got it in to the scope and had amazing views, so good I decided to grab my sketchbook. I subsequently found another Puffin and then prepared myself for the steep hill back to the car.

Squacco Heron and Puffin bring to me 217 for the year.

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