This picture of a gannet mid flight was captured at the RSPB’s newest nature reserve attraction at Troup Head a few weeks ago by my son when he was up on holiday. Troup Head is situated just along the coast from Pennan and is signposted off the B9031.
The high cliffs at Troup Head house Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony, with just over 1,500 pairs of these wonderful birds. It is not just gannets that can be spotted here – there are thousands of kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and even puffins. You may also be able to see porpoises, minke whales or dolphins swimming offshore.
The first gannets at Troup Head were believed to originate from Bass Rock. Back in 1988 when the first documented breeding record was made, there were only 4 nests on the cliffs. The numbers have increased steadily since then and in 2004, 1547 nests were documented so quite an increase since! The suitable areas on the cliffs mean that the numbers are expected to increase further. If you do decide to walk, be careful on the cliffs as they are unprotected so recommend keeping back from the edge.
Alternatively, if you do not fancy taking a walk to the cliffs, you can enjoy a scenic or fishing boat trip instead. Leaving from Macduff Harbour, you can sail along the Moray Firth coastline and take in the views of Troup Head from below.
Now is the perfect time to go and take a visit as the nesting time starts in April and continues to September. It truly is a wonderful sound and sight! Why not soak up the sights looking out over the Moray Firth and see how many different species of wildlife that you can see.