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Puffins (warning: many images & extra cuteness)

Discussion in 'Birds' started by alanhill, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. By popular demand!

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    You can always see a few Atlantic puffins on the Farne Islands at this time of year, resting on the sea or hanging out in little groups on the cliffs. But most of these birds are incubating eggs or brooding young chicks in their burrows or fishing out at sea. It is thought around 55000 pairs attempt to breed in the whole group, including 15000 pairs on Staple (where these photos were taken) and 13000 pairs on Inner Farne.

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    I think this is a young non-breeding bird, perhaps a 4 year old. It has a small bill with a rather angular shape and only 2 grooves in the orange part. So does the bird below, which was investigating burrows on Inner Farne.

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    This is a view of Inner Farne last Saturday afternoon; looking north-west from the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island, across the main puffin nesting area. Visitors are confined to the boardwalk, to prevent damage to the puffins' burrows.

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    There is a steady influx of birds bringing fishes from the sea, so the boardwalk is a good place for flight shots.

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    Normally the birds fly parallel to the path, up the slope into the prevailing wind, which gives you a chance to pick targets with a suitable flightpath as they approach. This time however there was almost no wind so birds were flying in from all directions, which made it harder to get decent photos. But I don't think these are too bad.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2007
  2. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    What a very interesting bird.

    I've only seen here on the Forum
    Like the group shot and landing shot, very nice
  3. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    What an amazing looking bird. The in-flight shots are really nice, especially with the "happy meal" sticking out of their beaks.
  4. Beautiful photos. They are so lovely.
  5. Spectacular! Was this in England? Sorry, I'm not familiar with this island.

    Thanks, Rich
  6. Really nice! I shot tufted-puffins at the Tacoma Zoo but never saw Atlantic Puffins in the wild. These are much nicer looking.
  7. very nice images, they are such cool birds and how well they carry their meals!!
  8. Those are some extremly fine photos Alan
  9. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    wow I love those little guys
    So great a looking bird.
    Yes cute to
    I love how they grab allll those fishies

    Think I would hit them with a bit of saturation to bring out the color a bit:>))))
    Great shots
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2007
  10. Alan,

    very nice series of shots. Does this island belong to Denmark or the British Isles?

    Thanks for sharing

  11. The puffin is a magical bird... almost like something someone invented for a fantasy movie. The shots of the birds in flight with multiple fish are excellent. Great series. For those of you who enjoyed this series, go to pbase and type in puffins in the search field and you will get plenty of galleries devoted to this species.
  12. What beautiful and interesting little birds! I just love #2! Hope you get to post more and often! Great job and narration!
  13. Thank you all for your comments. I thought you would enjoy these shots and of course I'm glad you did.
    Gale, I promise I didn't touch the saturation - actually the grey weather made it easier to process the shots, for once there was no danger of burning out their white breasts and losing the detail in the backs.
    Rich and Lil, the Farne Islands are just off the north east coast of England, just south of the Scottish border, so I didn't need a passport. They are all very small, so you'll need a large scale map of Northumberland to see them.
    I took the Birdwatchers special cruise, skippered by Billy Shiels (the most famous of the boatmen), it leaves Seahouses harbour at 10 am, arrives at Staple Island at 10.30, leaves at 12.30 for a cruise around the islands, arrives at Inner Farne at 1.30 pm, leaves at 3.30 pm and back to Seahouses in time for tea.
    I shot 11 GB of photos between 10.05 am and 3.25 pm - so there are more to come. You have been warned :wink:

  14. Very nice series, only had the opportunity one time of seeing this bird, they are certainly something.

  15. Glacier


    Jan 17, 2006
    Boaz, Alabama
    A bird that is at the top of my list to photograph before I go to the next world. Glad you posted these!
  16. I am delighted to see that the number of sand eels around these islands seem to be in good supply. Especially as they are becoming more scarce due to overfishing and the warming of the sea.

    Bob F.
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