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Guillemots. Pic: Chris Gomersall, RSPB
Guillemots: Devon's deep sea divers
Berry Head in Brixham is home to the largest colony of guillemots on the Channel coast.
Between March and July each year, there is a spectacular show to be seen at Berry Head cliffs in Brixham...and you don't have to pay a penny to see it.
It's the time of year when the cliffs come alive to the sight and sound of some 1,400 guillemots - the seabird which looks uncannily like a flying penguin.
The common guillemot is listed "amber" in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' danger list - amber is the second most critical category.
The cliffs at Berry Head
They are among the best divers in the world, reaching depths of 50 metres (160ft) to eat their dinner of fish and crustaceans, and they can dive as deep as 180 metres.
The birds flock to the narrow ledges on the sheer cliffs at Berry Head for the nesting season.
In fact, guillemots are a common sight all along Devon's north and south coasts and on Lundy - but it is here at Berry Head where they are most prevalent.
Yet is wasn't always the case. At one stage, in the mid-1970s, their numbers had plunged to around 400.
One of the reasons behind their decline was pleasure boat owners taking pot shots towards the birds to scare them into flying off in alarm.
No it's not a penguin, it's a guillemot!
While this provided tourists with the fabulous sight of the colony in flight, it was hugely damaging for the eggs and young birds.
Another factor in the plight of the guillemot is pollution. They spend most of their time at sea, and are susceptible to oil spills - and there have been several bad ones off the South West coast in recent times.
However, since Berry Head was designated a National Nature Reserve, the guillemot colony - and those of other seabirds - has recovered.
In 1981, Berry Head was also named as an Area of Special Protection, which bans rock-climbing on the cliffs during the breeding season.
The result of the extra protection can be seen (and heard, as they're very noisy) every spring time, and the measures have made this the most important guillemot colony on the south coast.
last updated: 22/02/2008 at 10:52