Farne Island – July 2018- Part 2- Puffin-fest

Puffins!!  This is the main reason we go to the Farne Islands, to see the huge colony of  puffins that come here to breed and we try to get some in-flight shots, which are SO difficult because the buggers fly at supersonic speed! There are 3 types of Puffins but here in the UK we get the Atlantic Puffins.

Puffins form long-term pair bonds or relationships. The female lays a single egg, and both parents incubate the egg and feed the chick (or “puffling”).

kisses ❤

The Dads dig out the nests, or use rabbit burrows if there are any about. 
Puffins eat both fish and zooplankton but feed their chicks primarily with small marine fish several times a day. The prey species of the Atlantic puffin include sandeel, herring and capelin. They also have the ability to hold several (sometimes over a dozen) small fish at a time, crosswise in their bill, rather than regurgitating swallowed fish. This allows them to forage far wider than your bog-standard one-fish-at-a-time sea bird, as they bring back much more food in one go. And I think it’s much more pleasant than vomitting up into your chicks gob!

Now’s not the time to ask a question.

Puffins are hunted for eggs, feathers and meat. Atlantic puffin populations drastically declined due to habitat destruction and exploitation during the 19th century and early 20th century. They continue to be hunted in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In fact  the Atlantic puffin forms part of the national diet in Iceland, where the species does not have legal protection. Puffins are hunted by a technique called “sky fishing”, which involves catching the puffins in a big net as they dive into the sea. 
Their meat is commonly featured on hotel menus. The fresh heart of a puffin is eaten raw as a traditional Icelandic delicacy- seriously guys??   On the small Icelandic island of Grimsey as many as 200 puffins can be caught in a single morning

Lads I think we’d best cancel that holiday to Iceland!

Puffin populations are in decline.  Puffin records on the Northumberland coast archipelago date back to 1939 when 3,000 breeding pairs were recorded, and every census until 2008 showed a steady increase in pairs. But in 2008 numbers fell by a third, from 55,674 to 36,835. This is thought largely due to the impacts of climate change.

gonna be lonely on Farne

Erpur Snær Hansen, director of ecological research at the South Iceland Nature Centre, says  if surface sea temperatures remain at current levels or higher, the entire puffin population of south and west Iceland will disappear in the next 10 to 20 years.  Maybe if they didn’t eat so many…

landing gear down

Although the puffins are noisy and shouty at their breeding colonies, they are silent at sea. They fly relatively high above the water, typically 10 m (33 ft) as compared with the 1.6 m (5.2 ft) of other birds.

silent running

Next time we’ll look at some of the other inhabitants on Inner Farne, but here’s a few more puffin pictures until then..

fasten your seatbelts and prepare for lift off

Make sure you’re home by 10, this isn’t a bloody hotel you know!

Patience

44 thoughts on “Farne Island – July 2018- Part 2- Puffin-fest

  1. Lol, as usual the captions for these made me laugh! 😂😂😂 Really amazing pictures that you have taken here. (wonderful to see how close you were able to get to these).
    Ugh…count me out for the eating raw of the heart thing though…Can definitely think of some better dishes lol 😂😂
    Sad to think that these might die out in 10-20 years though 😢 Hopefully that won’t happen. Wonderful post as always! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Puffins are so photogenic, and you got some first-class shots too. You would think those Icelanders would have discovered a way to breed them for food by now, instead of wiping out the natural population in stages. Still, they are a strange bunch. Bjork. Enough said.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never saw a puffin, but they were a big part of my childhood! To quote:

    Oh, there once was a Puffin
    Just the shape of a muffin,
    And he lived on an island
    In the bright blue sea!

    He ate little fishes,
    That were most delicious,
    And he had them for supper
    And he had them for tea.

    But this poor little Puffin,
    He couldn’t play nothin’,
    For he hadn’t anybody
    To play with at all.

    So he sat on his island,
    And he cried for awhile, and
    He felt very lonely,
    And he felt very small.

    Then along came the fishes,
    And they said, “If you wishes,
    You can have us for playmates,
    Instead of for tea!”

    So they now play together,
    In all sorts of weather,
    And the Puffin eats pancakes,
    Like you and like me.

    by Florence Page Jaques

    Liked by 2 people

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