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!
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.
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 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!
Let’s go on another adventure together!