Lunga, Treshnish Isles, Scotland, UK
Largest of the Treshnish Isles, Lunga is quite literally for the birds. The archipelago – part of the Inner Hebrides – is a protected sanctuary for nearly 50 species of breeding seabirds including razorbills, European shags, fulmars, and kittiwakes. A large population of guilliemots nest on Harp Rock, while the beaches offer refuge for tiny storm petrels. Yet Lunga’s real stars are the puffins, some 2,000 pairs of which breed here. These comical birds, known as “sea parrots,” are a delight to watch, and locals are known to head over for some stress-relieving “puffin therapy.” The island’s abundant flora features rare and endangered plants such as wild orchids, primroses, birdsfoot trefoils and sea campions. Lunga was populated until the 19th century, as evinced by a scattering of abandoned houses. Today’s avian inhabitants are joined by Atlantic grey seals, which give birth here during autumn months.