You approach Skomer hoping that you might see a puffin or two. A dozen maybe would be quite a result. They start appearing before you even land.
Out at sea, fishing, returning to their burrows...
And then you realise just how many of them there are...
Skomer is internationally important for its Manx Shearwater population. 'So what?' is the general reaction. When there are so many puffins on the island to see instead!
If you compare ease with reward, a trip to Skomer is about the best wildlife trip you can do in Britain. A ferry takes you to the island from the Pembrokeshire mainland, with the instruction that you have to be back five hours later. Will this be too much time on the island, which is only two and a half kilometres across? In fact, it is nowhere near enough time.
Because there are ten thousand puffins to watch.
TEN THOUSAND PUFFINS.
There's seals, and seagulls, and gannets, and various other creatures too. But there is just one star for 90-odd percent of visitors.
I have a confession. On my site loveofscotland.com is a picture of a puffin. But it wasn't taken in Scotland. It was taken on Skomer. A puffin's a puffin, right? But there is nowhere in Scotland I know of that combines the accessibility of Skomer with the sheer wonder of THOUSANDS OF PUFFINS JUST FEET AWAY!!!!
Yes the puffins come this close: