|Puffins at Bempton (these were photographed in spring 2009)|
We have just returned from the RSPB Reserve at Bempton Cliffs off the Yorkshire coast in the north of England, where these small clowns of the air were beginning to parachute in. We saw the odd Puffin here and there, but my hope is that these birds will actually be returning two by two by two by two by two ... from the ocean to their favoured nesting sites. It would be encouraging to feel that Bempton was supporting a healthy clutch of Pufflings this season.
Gannets were already laying eggs in their precarious precipice nests, but on our first visit, we only saw one Puffin, and that was at some distance. However, later in the week once the temperatures had soared, we managed to spot a few more; though for the most part, we had to shoot our photos straight into the sun. Some Puffins were very hard to find: the photo below was taken from one cliff face to another, requiring my maximum zoom.
|A small cute face!|
Other Puffins were not so camera-shy, and were busying themselves in closer holes and on nearby cliff ledges.
|This Puffin arrived to check out a familiar haunt ...|
|It fluffed itself out, and looked inside ...|
|... then it peered out again, perhaps looking for its mate.|
|It was time for a little preening ...|
|... one good turn deserves another!|
|It was soon time for a well-earned rest.|
Unlike our observations on previous visits, we failed to see any pairing Puffins, but there was definitely some serious spring-cleaning going on in the rocky burrows.
|These were the pairing Puffins we watched in 2009.|