While humans haven't lived on the Skellig Islands for quite a while now (the monks had left by the 12th century and the lighthouse has been unmanned since the late 1980s), you can't say they are uninhabited. Certainly not at this time of year, when they are teeming with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of seabirds. Among them, the Atlantic puffin.

It's the height of the breeding season at the moment. And you'll find puffins on many islands and clifftops along the Irish Atlantic coast from April until late August and into September. The other half of the year they spend in open sea.

Clumsy but hardy puffin

They aren't the most elegant birds. And their faces that look like a five-year-old had a go at them with a packet of crayons. Nevertheless, they are remarkable. They are built to thrive in one of the world's toughest environments. They are the personification of the adage that you can't judge a book by its cover.

Here are a couple of photographs celebrating this wonderful bird. I took them on Skellig Michael, where I've been spending a lot of time this year.

Love photography? Want to learn how to produce images like this yourself? Check out my sister site, Elevation, where I list the photography tours and workshops that I organize.

I run trips within Ireland and abroad. Past destinations include Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and the Faroe Islands.

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Peter Cox Photography Ltd