Friday, 15 April 2011

Beautiful Birds (23): it's those Puffins again!

Those of you who are familiar with my previous posts (e.g. here) will know by now that I love Puffins!

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.
  • You will find my Puffin poem, 'A Chink in the Sky', in A Pocket Full of Spring Fever (ed. Sue Kendrick, 2010), available for purchase as a download or a small anthology here
  • David G's Puffin pic. (in mid air) here.

8 comments:

Jeremy said...

Beautiful Puffin photos, Caroline, especially the last one. I went to Bempton for the only time in 1998, and it seems like yesterday. I must be getting old!

Randy Emmitt said...

Caroline,

Oh my what a beautiful thing to behold. Never seen them in the wild, but I do have seeing them something to look forward to! Thanks for sharing them.

eileeninmd said...

I love the Puffins too, but I have not seen them in the wild. Lucky you! Wonderful photos and post.

Lin at Sandpiper's Place said...

Hi Caroline, Thank so much for visiting my blog and leaving your kind message. I've been looking at your most recent post. Puffins and Gannets are two birds that I love, but so far I've only seen them in pictures. I tried to see puffins on a visit to coastal Maine a few years back, but had no luck. I won't give up! :-)

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh what lovely photos, puffins are such wonderful characters! I had a wonderful boat trip round the Treshnish Isles (near Staffa)once and oh the puffins were magnificent!

Amila Kanchana said...

It's obvious why you love them! How could anybody not love them lovely Puffins?

Dusty Gedge said...

Love these pictures - I haven't had a good view of a Puffin in years ;)

L. D. Burgus said...

I have seen these in zoos over here. My son who lives in Maine, should be able to see some of them. They are a beautiful creature.