Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Puffins (Fratercula arctica)

I'm just back from the most magical of Easter breaks. I took the long drive from Norfolk to Northumberland and the Farne Islands, where I was able to enjoy the most blissful three days of wildlife watching and photography. There will be more posts to follow (kittiwakes, shags, razorbills, Atlantic seals and so on), but I thought I'd start with the islands' most famous residents – the puffins. By taking an early boat out to Inner Farne and then negotiating to get a late boat back, I was able to stay on the islands for quite some time and it was well worth it. Although it was early in the puffins' season on the Farne Islands (they breed in colossal numbers in June – usually in excess of 35,000) there were still plenty in evidence – flying off to fish, exploring their burrows for the first time since last spring or simply standing around, often in pairs. My favourite shot is the first in this sequence; I love the symmetry and the birds' seemingly quizzical expressions. My only slight regret is that I didn't get the shot I had in mind before the trip: that of a puffin with a beak full of sand eels. With no eggs or chicks yet, I imagine most food was being eaten before the flight back to land.

PS: I rushed a little to get these images up; just noticed some dust spots! Will re-load at some point

All Canon 1Ds Mk II


  1. Stunning shots & compositions, Tim.

  2. Thanks Dean. They're such a delight to photograph and, indeed, simply to sit and watch – Tim

  3. Aren't they fun birds to watch?

  4. Hi Toffeeapple. They certainly are – they raise a smile every time. – Tim