After a stop in Ullapool we were soon heading through the stunning scenery towards Handa Island, boarding the "ferry" at Tarbet for the short crossing. Passing a pair of Red-throated Divers and several Black Guillemots on the way, Skuas and Arctic Terns we now wheeling ahead of us as we approached the beach landing. This first sight and sound of the Island unforgettable, the chattering cry of Arctic Terns all around us with Arctic and Great Skuas performing acrobatics in every direction, their loud calls filling the air.
As we walked to the seabird cliffs, Arctic and Great Skua glared at us from just feet away from the board-walk, busy settling down to nest. Others screamed noisily over head at speed, a tough challenge to photograph!
While watching a flock of Bonxies washing in a freshwater loch, several Red-throated Diver circled over head, honking noisily while others could be heard wailing to mates down at the shore. The air was filled with a constant stream of sound, Divers, Skuas, Terns, Skylarks, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Rock and Meadow Pipits.....
On the cliff tops a groups of Puffins were eyeing each other amongst the brilliant pink thrift, as thousands of auks jostled for ledges below them and wheeled back and forth out over the ocean. A great lunch stop!
We slowly made our way round the island, past more sea-bird cliffs, dropping down to one of the sheltered bays, full of Eider and a group of 7 Red-throated Divers fishing in the shallows, all in stunning breeding plumage. A pair of Red Grouse followed us for a while along the path, as we watched more endless Skua acrobatics above us, swooping down just feet above our heads.