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!

IMG_20190130_081910.jpg
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.

IMG_20190130_075012.jpg
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 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!


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

58 Comments

  1. heather@nightlyreading

    January 30, 2019 at 11:53 AM

    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!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:29 AM

      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!

  2. Kelly

    January 30, 2019 at 1:33 PM

    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!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:31 AM

      I am so glad the story lived up to your expectations, and yea… at the time I was like WTF but once we freed ourselves from the island we definitely we laughing hysterically. Gulls are legit evil though

  3. Kristina

    January 30, 2019 at 2:18 PM

    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!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:33 AM

      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.

      1. Kristina

        February 5, 2019 at 11:52 AM

        You never know true fear until you were trapped with gulls in breeding season .. 😂

  4. Meaghan @ Words Gremlin

    January 30, 2019 at 5:07 PM

    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!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:35 AM

      BIRDS ARE OUT TO GET ME! I don’t know what I did to deserve their ire, but I SWEAR that I am sorry! i am glad that you enjoyed my harrowing tale!

      1. Meaghan @ Words Gremlin

        February 5, 2019 at 10:49 AM

        YOU HAVE ANGERED THE OLD GODS…

        Lol yes I really did. An excellent tale, though probably better for you in the telling more than the experiencing.

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          February 5, 2019 at 6:29 PM

          That could make for an interesting story… where the birds are the messengers of the gods and a poor human angered them so much that their life was ruined by birds of all kinds.

  5. Paul's Picks

    January 30, 2019 at 7:33 PM

    Birds. Beautiful from afar… but…

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:35 AM

      Evil up close, that’s for sure.

  6. Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites

    January 30, 2019 at 9:17 PM

    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 😉

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:50 AM

      thank you for lying and saying my doodles are adorable. but you are definitely right about gulls only pooping when you don’t expect it. I BROUGHT THIS ON MYSELF!

      1. Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites

        February 5, 2019 at 10:59 AM

        it’s not a lie Kal they’re really super cute!! but also yeah, if you admit to the universe that you’re onto its tricks it’s just gonna try harder to mess with you 👀

  7. Tammy

    January 30, 2019 at 9:42 PM

    Ha ha, so funny! I love your drawings and I’d be terrified of seagulls after that experience!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:51 AM

      Thank you so much, and I definitely do give all gulls the sideeye now.

  8. Meeghan reads

    January 31, 2019 at 12:33 AM

    Hahaha, running for the train, only for the train to not leave in time – CLASSIC! Glad you had a fun day despite the angry seagulls!! (Don’t come to Aus during magpie breeding season…)

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:52 AM

      …when is magpie breeding season so I can avoid that time completely? And YES! Seriously, on what planet does a train be late because the driver was running behind?! wtf

      1. Meeghan reads

        February 5, 2019 at 1:24 PM

        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. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          February 5, 2019 at 6:37 PM

          NOPE NOPE NOPE. No snakes, no sharks.

          I am suddenly reminded to the Dylan Moran sketch about Australia: “located three quarters of a mile from the surface of the sun. People audibly crackling as they walk past you on the street. […] they fling themselves into the sea, which is inhabited almost exclusively by things designed to kill you. Sharks, jellyfish, swimming knives, they’re all in there.”

          1. Meeghan reads

            February 5, 2019 at 7:00 PM

            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.

  9. TheCaffeinatedReader

    January 31, 2019 at 2:30 AM

    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

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 10:54 AM

      cackling was definitely the reaction I was going for, huzzah I win! Seagulls are VICIOUS. And the guestbook was literally the best part, my friend and I were howling with laughter in the shop

  10. Monthly Wrap || January 2019 – the words gremlin

    January 31, 2019 at 7:47 AM

    […] Kaleena @ Reader Voracious was attacked by seagulls and lived to tell the harrowing tale… […]

  11. The Book Addiction Book Tag – Fictionally Sam

    January 31, 2019 at 8:14 AM

    […] Ruby @ Ruby’s Books | Clo @ Book Dragons | Jamsu @ Jamsu Dreams | Isabelle @ Bookwyrm Bites | Kaleena @ Reader Voracious | Soph & Lupe @ Bookwyrming […]

  12. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    January 31, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    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! 😉

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:04 AM

      It was both hilarious and scary at the time, for sure. My friend and I were just laughing but i did have the bird fear, so. Definitely makes a good story since I lived to tell the tale!

  13. kaitlyngosiaco

    January 31, 2019 at 11:28 AM

    I love your doodles so much hahaha! This story was a great start to my day.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:06 AM

      Thank you so much, and glad your day started off on a funny foot!

  14. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    January 31, 2019 at 5:38 PM

    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.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:11 AM

      WE DID GOOGLE! We scoured the company’s website and they purposefully vagued it up so we weren’t sure if it was still puffin season or not. Shady jerks. I am glad you enjoyed Bird Time with Kal and my doodles, tho!

      1. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

        February 5, 2019 at 8:35 PM

        It’s like they knew you were coming

  15. jennifertarheelreader

    January 31, 2019 at 5:41 PM

    😂 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!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:15 AM

      I am so sad I didn’t get to see the puffins, but at least I got this story to tell! OMG I would have been so scared, you were lucky Jennifer!

  16. BrigidDowney

    January 31, 2019 at 7:02 PM

    I love this so much! My grandma once got a funnel cake stole by a seagull and I upset a heron on our trip to Florida last month lol

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:17 AM

      Seagulls are such food thieves! I would be so mad if my funnel cake were nicked omg

      1. BrigidDowney

        February 5, 2019 at 11:19 AM

        My girlfriend gets mad that they hang around here in WI. She yells at them “There’s no sea here! You’re not lake-gulls, you’re lost!”😂

  17. Michelle

    January 31, 2019 at 11:32 PM

    “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

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:20 AM

      She is definitely the more fearless of the pair, that’s true. She also just thought my terror was hilarious.

      1. Michelle

        February 7, 2019 at 2:17 AM

        I might also have laughed *hides face*

  18. northernplunder

    February 1, 2019 at 8:03 AM

    +++
    744
    45

    hey look i cleanef my desk a bit and left a secret code here.
    birds are honestly super scary as is but this story made them a lil gfunnier. i rly liked ur captoiomns for your images :’)

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:24 AM

      birds are indeed super scary, thank you for understanding me here! I am glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for commenting even though your wrist is broken ily Lauren

  19. Becca Leighanne (Bex)

    February 1, 2019 at 9:34 AM

    BRB I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING IS THE GRIM REAPER ACTUALLY GHOSTFACE?!

    please take me on your next trip. you have the most (& dangerous) fun and i love it.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:24 AM

      YES LMAO I SWEAR THAT WAS SO WEIRD

      come with me to Scotland in the fall!!!!

      1. Becca Leighanne (Bex)

        February 7, 2019 at 7:37 PM

        SCREAMS I WOULD LOVE TO

  20. sammers65

    February 1, 2019 at 2:57 PM

    ” 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?!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 11:31 AM

      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?!

      1. sammers65

        February 6, 2019 at 2:02 PM

        Parents who hate the human world, that who. smh. I don’t even know what puffins are *googles*………..OH WAIT I DO! THOSE TWERPS ARE ADORABLE! LIKE MINI TUCAN SAMS!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          February 9, 2019 at 7:50 AM

          AREN’T THEY ADORABLE!?!?!?!?! *heart eyes emojis for days*

  21. Clo @ Book Dragons

    February 2, 2019 at 3:17 AM

    *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

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 1:57 PM

      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

  22. waytoofantasy

    February 2, 2019 at 8:27 AM

    Lol! Sounds like an adventure! Coming away with these kinds of stories is one of the best things about traveling. 🙂

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 5:32 PM

      I totally agree, it’s these weird stories that makes traveling so much fun and adventures that I just love to go on!

  23. Ruby's Books

    February 3, 2019 at 8:47 AM

    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!!!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 5:40 PM

      I am so glad you enjoyed my tale of woe and doodles, Ruby! Tears of laughter are the best! Geese are EVIL and you were wise to run.

  24. Whale House Guest House

    March 12, 2019 at 6:45 PM

    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.

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