Friday, 30 March 2012

The Puffins Are Coming.

Puffins everywhere across a flat sea.

And on land.

The middle bird still has lots of dark feathers on its face left over from its winter plummage.

This and the next post were written last week but lack of access to the computer meant I couldn't post them. 2 fabulous days on the island. The purpose was practical but the fringe benefits were spectacular. We headed out on Thursday morning across a mirror calm sea and in bright sunshine but as we got closer to the island the glassy surface was marred by black dots as far as the eye could see. The puffins were back in force. It was breathtaking and Colin stopped the boat when we were several hundreds yards from the island just so we could take in the sight. At almost the flick of a switch this was the seabird city coming back to life after a long, quiet winter. Once on the island the land had become a birdscape, with birds drawing the eye which ever way you looked. It was like a still life master piece had become animated, the Mona Lisa chatting away and getting up and going for stroll. With 45,000 pairs of puffins on the island and non-breeding birds joining them there was a lot going on as they landed, investigated burrows, jostled and just looked and whirled off again into a wheel above the island. I suppose if you had spent the winter months alone and isolated out in the Atlantic then had being dumped in the middle of busy London Streets with a partner you hadn't seen for 7 or 8 months then you might be in a bit of a state of shock. Meanwhile the other seabirds were busy getting sorted on the cliffs as well. The growling razorbills, braying guillemots, yowling kittiwakes, cackling fulmers and honking shags brought me back to an island atmosphere not seen since last June and were as welcome as a group of old friends long time not seen. Can't wait to get out there for the start of our season.

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