Storytime with Kal: the time I went looking for puffins and was chased by an angry seagull

It’s time for another story involving how much birds hate me and plot my demise (seriously), this time complete with a stick figure drawing or two from my travel journal. I think they really add to the atmosphere of the tale, and also kind of explain why I don’t do bullet journals.

Last time I had a storytime on the blog, I talked about the time I was chased by wild turkeys they day before Thanksgiving while on a run. That happened a few months after the incident that you are about to read about today. So grab your popcorn and buckle up for what my friend and I dubbed “The Death Island Trip!”

Date: 23 July 2013
Location: Inchcolm Island, Scotland

What we intended to see were puffins on that day, but what we actually saw on our boat ride on the Forth were far more sinister…

I had been in Scotland for a little over a month at this point and my summer abroad course in Edinburgh had come to an end, so I began gallivanting around Scotland with a friend that lives in Glasgow. We were staying at her parents’ home near Crieff and it came up that puffins migrate to parts of Scotland. I love penguins, and puffins are cute penguin looking animals. I was filled with a sudden need. We took to the internet to see if we missed Puffin Season, and it looked like we were in luck: we could go to Inchcolm Island outside of Edinburgh and see them!

We found a boat tour that allows for a stop on the island, bought train tickets back to Edinburgh, and set off on an adventure. We made sure our boat ride included the landing passes for Inchcolm, where there is an old abbey to see – but really I just cared about the puffins during breeding season. BABY PUFFINS!

Most noticeable when the boat was coming up to the dock were the mass amounts of seagulls, and I said to Awena “I bet that a bird poops on my head on this island.” We were not shat on, but goodness is there a story to tell about this island!

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The amount of seagulls in the sky should have been a sign. Please note that the door size is to scale.

We made our way to the abbey ruins and nosied around the grounds for a bit. It was really dark inside and the doorways were so incredibly small! How tall were these people?! I may be a little tall but I legit had to duck. The doorway height was the most notable thing about the ruins, so we pressed on to look for puffins.

We noticed a not-so-menacing sign at the base of a hill warning not to approach gulls during breeding season. It is important to note that it does not say when breeding season is. So naturally we go up the hill and see a baby gull all cute up ahead on the path – and a daddy gull (they have a red spot on their beaks, which I am convinced is the blood of their enemies) SCREECHED, flew up into the air straight up, and angrily flew toward us with angry eyes and claws ready for attack.

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Fawn over my artistic prowess and ready your bids for my travel journals now.

And we ran.

I looked back and it was still chasing us until we were all the way off of the hill completely. Um, dude, we got chased/attacked by a seagull. And there were no puffins. And we have another hour on this island before the boat picks us up. OMG.

Now I was terrified of the gulls for the rest of the time, much to Awena’s amusement. The island itself was used by for military purposes during World Wars I & II due to its location on the Forth and proximity to Edinburgh, and there are still some tunnels on the island to explore. As we cautiously made our way to the stairs, a child dressed as the grim reaper came down them – scythe and all – with his normal father and brother. (You can’t make this up!) Omen? Possibly.

 

 

Baby gulls are all around the area surrounding the stairs. I am terrified whereas Awena wants to be chased again. We go through the creepy tunnel and find that the area opposite of the tunnel has been claimed by the gulls, so we got back to find that a baby gull and papa gull on the path on the other side. TRAPPED.

Just as I begin to have daymares of camping in the tunnel, Awena chases them off and we run down the stairs. And by we, I mean me. We waited out the rest of our time on the island in the gift shop, looking at the guestbook.

“I looked death in the face. Its frightening, feathery face.”

I can’t help but think that visitor had a similar experience and I felt a kindred connection with them. At least we were not alone!

We boarded the boat and saw some seals on the way back, who were adorable and derpy – there was a fat one on a buoy that was my favorite! Our bus got back to Waverly Station 3 minutes before our train, so we ran and got on just in time… and then it didn’t move for half an hour because the driver was late.

All in all this was one of my favorite travel days ever! It was great to share the experience with a friend, and it is such a fun story as well. And this day began the trend of birds chasing me while I travel, the following day I was stalked by a peacock in the Auchingarich Park.


I hope you enjoyed this Bird Storytime! Have you ever had the weirdest things happen to you while traveling? Or do birds like to chase you everywhere you go? Share your thoughts & experiences in the comments below!


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

58 thoughts on “Storytime with Kal: the time I went looking for puffins and was chased by an angry seagull

  1. Great story!!! I have never been chased by gulls although, one time I had my lunch stolen right from my hand by a very hungry gull! lol! I have been chased by geese a time or two while trying to feed ducks. Geese can be rather mean also! AND they honk….loudly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You haven’t truly lived until you have been chased down a hill by an angry seagull with cartoon eyebrows of DOOM! But yes, gulls are also petty thieves and have no shame. Once I witnessed one take an entire fish fillet from someone’s hand as they were preparing to eat it. Geese are also evil!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I buckled up (sadly, no popcorn) and I was not disappointed – this story was amazing! Although, I imagine it wasn’t at the time but, hey, at least you can laugh about it now! I live in a seaside town on a peninsula so there’s gulls here *all* the time and this sort of thing is not uncommon. It mostly happens to tourists, but they are evil creatures. The gulls, not the tourists. You might be onto something about the red marks on their beaks being from the blood of their enemies though, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ahahah oh my god, what are the odds ? 😂
    I’ve grown around seagulls nearly all my life, being from a coastal city and we actually liked taking a drive to the wharf and fish. Ours were “used” to see humans I guess, as they weren’t as aggressive nor really bothered by humans around..(unless you really made the effort to “chase them”)

    But also oh my god.. that tunnel seems WAY too narrowed for me, I wouldve had died in that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeaaaaaa. I grew up along the coast and also have gotten used to their friendly thieving of my burritos and french fries, but I never have been around them during breeding season. Don’t go near them during breeding season.

      That tunnel was terrifying and I was worried I was going to have to live there when I saw the gulls moved in on both exits and trapped us in.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kal, your artistic skills fill me with envy, and your harrowing seagull encounters leave me with no envy whatsoever. 😂 Your survival is absolutely 100% for sure to be applauded. And your storytelling skills, too. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of these, especially since it seems you and birds have a bit of beef with one another!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. omg these doodles are adorable 😍 also fact: birds only poop on you when you’re not anticipating it, so as soon as you said it, the universe had to find another way to mess with you – hence the gulls I guess! but I’m glad you came out of it okay with a fun story to tell 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Umm, just don’t come like all of spring. Which is your autumn/fall. Summer is for sharks and snakes (if you’re in the country – we don’t have snakes in cities). Spiders all year round (but you rarely see the poisonous ones). Currently we have flooding and cyclones in the north and bushfires in the south. It’s been a fairly typical summer. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We did have an unusual infestation of deadly jellyfish this summer. We couldn’t go swimming for like 3 weeks until they had floated past. It would have been fine except they were tiny and you couldn’t see them in the water. But yes, jellyfish are creepy as f*ck. And Dylan Moran is correct.

        Like

  6. AHAHA omg no what have you done to me? I’m just quietly cackling, my husband and I know all about the vicious cycle of seagulls, I’m so sorry you’ve seen their terror but I cannot get over those doodles or that guestbook, thank you so much for sharing lmfao

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Omg this is such an amazing story, Kaleena! 😂 Even though it must’ve been terrifying at the time, I’m really glad you’re as to look back on it, have a good laugh, and remember it as one of your favorite trips! I hope your future trips are filled with less vicious birds though! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OH HELL YES IT’S BIRD TIME WITH KAL. And like I said in Discord, consider stick journals and put the stick in bullet journals. This was a grand time to read and brought a nice laugh (I’M SORRY KAL FORGIVE MEEEE) while enjoying your doodles.

    They really should have said when breeding season is, though. Not everyone Googles.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 😂 This story is the best, Kaleena! I don’t know what I would have done if that had happened to me, and what a bummer about the puffins! I got in trouble on our trip to Denali National Park…We were not supposed to approach wildlife (of course!), and when a shady looking red fox approached me, I locked eyes and didn’t move, which resulted in me getting yelled at by the tour guide. The fox didn’t chase me though, thank goodness!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “I am terrified whereas Awena wants to be chased again.” Is this how this relationship between you always is? xD Honestly gulls are just terrified in general! And I’m an ecologist :’) I even love spiders and snakes

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ” I was filled with a sudden need.”

    I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but let the laughing begin here. BIRD TIME WITH KAL IS THE BEST TIME WITH KAL! Honestly I’m ducking here for these stories! I honestly love how these birds have a personal vendetta out against you. 10/10. AND HELLO RANDOM GRIM REAPER KID?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LISTEN, I need to see puffins in the wild. They are so cute and derpy and I need them.
      I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this, but birds I AM SORRY! I swear who lets their kid go on a tourist thing in a grim reaper costume with a scythe in August?!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. *wheezes* I’m laughing, and I also feel slightly bad for you since I have seen Puffins, they are adorable little Puffins are. But wow…you could write a book with these stories honestly, I’d read it cause I’m so entertained by these tales hahaha. Seagulls are kinda rude though, and big *rolls*

    There was one time when I about 4 or something, I was with my grandma at this park and I decided to throw bread at the geese. We were chased by a HUGE flock of geese I kid you not, although young me thought it was super fun hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clo are the puffins as wonderful in person as I imagine them to be?!!?! Thank you, I am glad you like my writing – I have a friend who keeps telling me to write a book but idk. haha. Seagulls are MEAN! OMG tho being chased by a flock of geese would be TERRIFYING no thank you

      Like

  13. I want to say I’m straight-faced right now, but that would be a lie. A big lie. I have tears rolling down my face I’m laughing so hard. Okay so *clears throat* The doodles were amazing and I need more doodles from you and more bird stories! The little kid dressed as a grim reaper and his “normal dad and brother” part killed me. So I was only once chased by an angry looking bird, a giant white goose. I think she actually wanted to steal my camera and I wouldn’t have any of that so I also ran, much to the amusement of my friends. I love storytime with Kal and I need more of these!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Seagulls are the best foot thieves of all. Here in Newfoundland at the fish and chips stand they have a routine. One will hop up and down in front of the group gaining their attention while the other will snatch a piece of fish or fries from the plate. It’s actually one of my favorite things to watch when downtown St. John’s.

    Like

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