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Puffin Cruises offer trip to new RSPB Troup Head Reserve

Wild Scotland member, Puffin Cruises has teamed up with the RSPB to run special boat trips from May to September, with friendly, informative guides on hand to entertain during the three-hour trips.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be able to enjoy thousands of gannets, as well as tens of thousands of other seabirds, at RSPB Scotland’s newest nature reserve attraction. Troup Head is Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony.

Visitors to the dramatic craggy cliffs of Troup Head on the Aberdeenshire coast will be able to watch around 150,000 breeding seabirds throughout the summer, with more than 1,500 gannet nests, guillemots, razorbills and puffins making up the impressive spectacle. The stunning location – Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony – offers breath-taking panoramic vistas across the Moray Firth, where whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals are often seen, resulting in a unique wildlife experience.

Designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the incredible number of breeding seabirds it supports, Troup Head comprises a coastal strip approximately 4km long between Fraserburgh and Macduff, and was purchased by RSPB Scotland in December 2005.

The development of the gannetry at Troup Head is a fascinating story, with the first documented breeding record in 1988 with just four nests on the cliffs. Numbers have increased steadily since then to 1547 nests in 2004. Although the early years of the colony saw numbers increase dramatically, they then slowed down and have levelled off in recent years. However, with suitable areas on the cliffs still available for gannets to colonise, numbers can be expected to increase in the future.  The first gannets were believed to originate from Bass Rock.

Seabird monitoring at Troup Head will continue and expand, with the RSPB including the site within its seabird monitoring programme in conjunction with Joint Nature Conservancy Council (JNCC).  This data will contribute to and inform the debate on fisheries issues and climate change – the two biggest crises facing British and international populations of seabirds.

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