Thursday 21 May 2020

Lockdown Day 59 - Remembering Puffins

Whilst a lot of visitors go to see Puffins (Fratercula arctica) at RSPB Bempton on the cliffs there, it is often the case that Puffins can be seen at Flamborough on the cliffs if the tide allows you to go along the sides of North Landing. However, I have not seen as many since as I did in 2010 when there was quite a large group of them on a ledge above my head. Puffins are quite curious creatures and will pop their heads on one side and look at you and make that funny croaky noise they have.

After breeding, Puffins will return far out to sea and not many of them are seen until the following Spring when they return to the cliffs. However, in winter they lose the colour on their beaks. Hundreds of these birds were in the water off Grímsey which I mentioned in this post , an island on the Arctic Circle north of the mainland of Iceland which we also visited in 2010, along with thousands of Guillemots and Razorbills and dozens of Eider Ducks. On our previous visit to Iceland in 2009 we took the short plane ride to Vestmannaeyjar off the south coast where, supposedly, there breed about 740000 pairs of puffins, but we went in early April which must have been just before they returned from sea and saw not a single one! (We did though get to fly in an 8-seater plane to the islands over the volcano that dominates Heimaey and I was seated next to the pilot!) 

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