Wednesday, 30 July 2014

WBW 107 - Puffins

One of the best things from a birdwatching point of view about my recent trip to the UK was the chance to see birds that I had seen on a regular basis in the past, but were now not found in Australia. They may be common to UK birders, but they were special for me,

And an even better thing was to see birds that I had only seen on a few occasions in the UK again - and one of these birds was the Puffin - or to given it its proper common name, the Atlantic Puffin.

I watched these delightful little birds - and they are not as big as most people think - on The Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumbria in the NE of England.  If you have any interest in birds and find yourself in the UK in spring or summer, this is a place you really should visit.

The Farne Islands sit just a couple of miles off shore, and can be reached by boats that leave from Seahouses. And on these islands (along with many, many other birds) live about 40,000 pairs of Puffins!

Its a place to get excited about.

The Puffin (I really cant bring myself to add "Atlantic") is a little ball of a bird, about 30cm long, with a white face, and, in summer, a brightly coloured beak.  Going by the name of Fratercula arctica, it is an auk and has more than a passing resemblance to a penguin.  To round out the wonderfulness of these birds, they nest in burrows and fly with a startlingly fast wing beat.

The puffins of the Farne Islands (and elsewhere) are a migratory bird, breeding on the island and then heading out to sea for the winter.  It is assumed that these birds spend much of the winter in the middle of the Atlantic - but this is not really the place where much birdwatching goes on, so there is still a deal of uncertainty about this.

If there was ever a bird guarenteed to make you smile, I think it would be these.













Now its over to you once more - and this week I should be able to visit sites and reply to comments!

Click away!

60 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

I really like the look of these little guys. I dream of visiting Canada's East Coast to see them for myself. Yes, I HAVE been to the Atlantic Provinces but not since I've become an avid birder. :)

Nette Cecilia said...

I like to see that bird in real life ,lovley photos ,Nette

Frank said...

Charismatic ... they have always put a smile on my face whenever I have encountered them.

Excellent images Stewart.

TexWisGirl said...

they really are sweet things! very unreal looking. perfect cartoon characters. :)

Chris Rohrer said...

Sweet photos!!!! These are definitely very cool birds. I'll have to check out the Farne Islands. Sounds like a great place to go bird.

Felicia said...

they really are adorable birds and yes they made me smile.

thanks for your wonderful images Stewart.

Sharon Wagner said...

They are adorable. And I've never seen one in the wild. So many birds. So little travel time.

Gail Dixon said...

Awesome shots, Stewart! This bird is high on my wish list, but I doubt I'll ever get to see it. Loved this post!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Wonderful images of the puffins, Stewart! In past years we saw puffins in Alaska, both Horned and Tufted species. The former, confined to the Pacific, resembles the Atlantic Puffin. We missed visiting their haunts this past month, but saw and photographed them in the aviary at Alaska SeaLife Center.

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

How cute! I'll probably never seen that one in the real, but love the photos.

Andrea Priebe said...

I love the Puffins ... they are so adorable. I am excited for you that you got to see them and take all of these awesome pictures. I chuckled when I saw the picture in flight ... their heads are so big I am guessing that they woule have to struggle to keep their heads up and their tails down ... Great post, Stewart. And, you can be sure if I ever make it to the UK, I will head for Farne Islands.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Andrea Priebe said...

I love the Puffins ... they are so adorable. I am excited for you that you got to see them and take all of these awesome pictures. I chuckled when I saw the picture in flight ... their heads are so big I am guessing that they woule have to struggle to keep their heads up and their tails down ... Great post, Stewart. And, you can be sure if I ever make it to the UK, I will head for Farne Islands.

Andrea @ From The Sol

cobie en bas van Es said...

Stewart als je er voor gaat en je ziet ze niet alleen maar je krijgt er dan zoveel te zien dat is geweldig.

Andrew Fulton said...

Wonderful images of the Puffins Stewart... fantastic birds to see.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Something I find incomprehensible about puffins is that they only have the bright part of their beak during the breeding season. Then it falls off so they have a shorter, less interesting bill for the rest of the year.

I've never seen a puffin. It's an ambition.

Phil Slade said...

your trip was over so soon Stewart that I did not realise you had visited; the North East at least. A valuable trip to obtain those pictures.

Linda W. said...

Wonderful photos! I too love puffins. I saw some when I was in Alaska years ago.

mick said...

Great photos of these fantastic little birds. You are very fortunate to have been and seen them.

Pieni Lintu said...

Those are so cute! :D

And sorry..my birds are not so "wild" this time - owls in zoo. :)

Christian Weiß said...

Stunning and wonderful birds, I have to go to the sea.
Greetings

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stewart How wonderful that you ere able to get to Farne. Your Puffins shots are fantastic. I hope the Terns left you alone!

Adam Jones said...

They are real beauties. It's somewhere I must go next year. I didn't manage it this year but your pictures are stunning!

eileeninmd said...

Stewart, what an awesome series on the Puffins..They are so darn cute! There is something about these birds that makes them look fake, not sure why..I would love to see them in the wild, great post. Thanks for hosting, have a happy week!

Carole M. said...

and they're a delightful bird Stewart and I'd have definately made a beeline for them too if it had been my trip. Fabulous photos and scenery...

Revrunner said...

I'm trying my best not to say . . . awks!

Brian King said...

Puffins are awesome! There's always the classic fish in the bill shot! These are fantastic photos!

Christian Perrin said...

These are definitely in my Top 20 Birds to See! I love them!

You've got some amazing photos here, Stewart - I especially like the three birds on top of the rock, and the Puffins in flight. I don't know if I've ever seen a photo of the latter before, and you've even managed to freeze their fast wing action!

orchid Miyako said...

Good Morning from Japan;
OMG!!! what LOVELY bird Puffins are♡♡♡ I REALLY enjoyed the pictures. Thanks to the bogging, I started interested in birds. But getting a bit sad not having a nature to enjoy them close to me p;)

Sincerely from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

HansHB said...

Beautiful serie! The puffins are so cute!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Puffins are such amazing and beautiful birds. I have always wondered, are they in the penguin family?

bailey-road.com said...

Stewart, these photos are delightful. Puffins are so cute - it's hard to believe they're real.

janiceadcock said...

Your puffin shots made me smile!!! Thanks for sharing.

Pat Ulrich said...

Awesome stuff, Stewart!! A dream come true to photograph these birds!

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I think you said it best - a bird guaranteed to make you smile.

Stuart Price said...

Wow, haven't seen a Puffin since, er................last century I suppose............

Rebecca said...

I can't imagine a Puffin as ordinary! Would love to see them too - so different from an American bird. :)
Thanks for hosting!

Small City Scenes said...

They are so sweet and they DO make me smile. Thank you. MB

vesselsmemories said...

Gorgeous birds and awesome photos of them. Thank you for sharing and also for stopping by my blog a few days ago.

Dawn
@ A Place for Pictures and Memories

Marie said...

I love them so much! Just the cutest birds! And your photos are so wonderful, Stewart! So, how would they winter in the mid-Atlantic? Just floating on the waves? The info you included was so interesting! Glad to have something to post, though this isn't part of our trip.I felt very happy to ID the verdin, though and couldn't wait to share that success.

bettyl-NZ said...

I hope to see these magnificent birds myself one day soon! Your photos are just amazing!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

These are great photos, Stewart! I like the one with four lined up in a row!!

NatureFootstep said...

loved to see your Puffins. Brings back memories :)

Irma said...

This is a great series of the puffins.
All perfectly photographed, Stewart.
Best regards, Irma

Breathtaking said...

Hello Stewart!: I don't think my comment published, so I'm trying again.How fantastic to be able to photograph Puffins. Your photos are all great, but I do like the one of the Puffins standing in a row.

Arija said...

Sweet, cute, charming. adorable,delightful and guaranteed to make one smile.
Small wonder they have to beat those little wings like anything to keep the disproportioned bodyweight aloft.
Thank you for going there to bring these home.

Kerri Farley said...

Oh my goodness.....your puffins are amazing! I would LOVE to see these in person!

Nick Va said...

Lovely shots, Stewart. Thanks for hosting.

A Quiet Corner said...

All I did was gasp in delight, Stewart...I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Puffins!!!!....:)JP

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful birds! You have to smile when you see them, they're so cute.

edenhills said...

What a treat! They are absolutely adorable!

Katrin Klink said...

Great little guys - they look like characters from an animation movie!

LadyD Piano said...

Sooo adorable!!!

Marcia said...

We saw puffins for the first time in Newfoundland. they are so cute. I bought a magnet that says no puffin to mean of course no smoking. You should put that province of Canada are you to visit list. Worth the trip.

pattisjarrett said...

Nice photos. I expected it to be a larger bird. Their unique beak has always captured my attention. I'm glad things are slowing down a bit for you.

Liz said...

Oh wow, Stewart!!
Puffins are a bird I would love to see. I follow quite a number of UK birders on 500px and their images are incredible!

What a wonderful opportunity!!

Susan (ABON) said...

The Puffins are lovely. Beautiful shots!

Mary Cromer said...

Hands down, face is in shame, I just have to shout it out. Stewart...I a, so JEALOUS! I adore Puffin images, I adore these sweet birds and I have been so close to seeing them twice, but never did...Your images are just perfect and they gave me my first July 31 of the day smiles...thank you~

Mama Zen said...

They are so cute!

Dave said...

Superb post of a wonderfully charismatic bird. Love this post.

Ela said...

Wow ! Just gorgeous birds !