A TOURIST has captured a rare close encounter with a puffin after it mistakes her legs for a burrow.
The colourful seabird was caught on camera earlier this month by amateur photographer and telecoms engineer Julie Barry, during a photography holiday.
Visiting Shetland for the first time along with her husband Richard, the pair had hoped to see the birds for the first time but got much more than they expected.
Fearlessly bobbing under a wooden fence, the little bird waddles towards Julie who is sitting near the edge of the cliff at Sumburgh Head on the souther tip of the island.
The amazing video shows the moment the curious puffin walks straight up to Julie, from Kent, and darts under her legs and eyes up her camera.
The adorable looking creature is seen at the beginning of the clip ducking underneath the wooden bar of the fence after checking to make sure it is safe.
After inspecting the surroundings and her bag, seagulls can be heard in the distance, prompting the small bird to dart under Julie’s knee and hide.
Inspecting her camera and its long lens, the black and white bird looks quite content sheltering beside her.
Sitting under her leg for around two minutes the puffin plucks up enough courage to venture out into the open once again.
Speaking about her experience, Julie said: “It was amazing! I’d just got my phone out to video them coming into land. I thought it would see me and fly off.
“I never expected it to get that close, let alone pop under my leg. I couldn’t believe my luck”
Posting her close encounter online, Julie wrote: “A once in a lifetime experience at Sumburgh Head yesterday with the puffins”
Commenting on the footage, viewers were amazed by the boldness of the puffin.
Rox Cogle wrote: “That’s awesome! What a cute little brave soul.”
Susan Dilks said: “Beautiful. Just makes me wonder what people have been feeding him or her to make them not too afraid of humans.”
Val Civico commented: “Fabulous,that look on ‘his face’ when realising your legs are not his burrow. I had close encounters last year but as close as this. Wonderful!”
Puffins can live for up to 30 years and they nest in rabbit like burrows along the shoreline.
The birds eat mostly sand eels, a key staple of their diet, as well as other small sea creatures and fish.
According to the National Trust, puffins are an red-listed bird species meaning there has been a severe decline in the population over the last 25 years.