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Common Guillemot
Uria aalge
Where to see Guillemots in North Devon

Like most auks, guillemots spend most of the winter out at sea. However, the right conditions will bring them close to the shore. I've seen them occassionally in Ilfracombe harbour after strong northerly winds. Usually only single birds appear but sometimes there may be three or four. Another favoured site seems to be the back of Capstone hill.

Guillemots nest from late April to early July. North Devon has two of the largest auk colonies in the South-West. Both are on inaccessible cliffs: one on the mainland; one on Lundy Island.

The Lundy colony is concentrated around the Jenny's Cove area in the West to North-West of the Island. They can be viewed with a telescope from the cliff tops, either wedged in long lines on precarious ledges or floating in 'rafts' with other auk species. If you are lucky enough to stay on Lundy, there are occasional boat trips around the island with a Clovely fishing boat (weather permitting). You will also see Guillemots on the crossing from the mainland in any of the big boats (Oldenburg, Waverley, or Balmoral).

The mainland colony is around the Woody Bay - Heddon's Mouth cliffs to the west of Lynmouth. This colony is extremely difficult to view from the cliff top. You can see the offshore 'rafts' of auks quite easily with a telescope, but the best way to see this colony is from the sea.

Exmoor Coastal Cruises run boat trips from Lynmouth harbour most days in the summer but usually only go as far as Woody Bay. However, they do a longer trip (roughly once a week) that will take you as far as Heddon's Mouth. This is a small boat (30 passengers) which means that although it won't sail in bad weather, it does have the advantage that it can get a lot closer to the birds than either the Waverley or Balmoral.

Pictures .jpg

  • guillism.jpg (200x150) Lundy Summer '03
  • guilli1s.jpg (200x150) Capstone 9/4/04
  • guilli2s.jpg (200x150) Capstone 9/4/04
  • guilli3s.jpg (200x150) Capstone 9/4/04
  • guilli4m.jpg (300x225) Capstone 9/4/04
  • guilli5s.jpg (200x150) Capstone 9/4/04
  • guilli6s.jpg (200x150) Capstone 9/4/04
  • guilly1s.jpg (400x300) Lundy 18/5/04
  • guilly2s.jpg (400x300) Lundy 18/5/04
  • guilly3s.jpg (400x300) Lundy 18/5/04
  • guilly4s.jpg (400x300) Lundy 18/5/04
  • guilly5s.jpg (300x400) Lundy 18/5/04
  • guilly6s.jpg (300x400) Lundy 18/5/04
  • guille1x.jpg (600x450) Lundy 10/5/06

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Created 18/12/03
Last Modified 11/12/15