I am just finishing up with my first group in the UK. We have been very blessed with weather so far and have made all of our scheduled landings, including five puffin landings and a Bass Rock landing.
I have not seen any young puffins peeking out from the burrows yet but it is still a bit early. The rangers told me that they have felt them alive and well in the nest (they reach their arms into the burrows when doing their counting-sometimes they are bitten and other times they feel poop!)
It rained a lot the week before we got here and I did see a lot of dead puffin chicks lying around the colony. The rangers said that their burrows got flooded and the young birds got cold and died. Now their tiny lifeless bodies are being ripped apart by Lesser black-backed gulls. It is painful to see the ugly truth within a colony; to watch the predation over and over again can be difficult. But puffins are strong little birds even though they are so small.
Our Bass Rock landing could not have been better; the seas were like smooth glass. When we landed we were greeted by thousands and thousands of gannets. It is an eerie feeling as you walk through the entrance and begin your climb upward through the colony. Once accepted as part of the colony the birds allow you to sit among them. It is a privilege that I don’t take lightly. We were all very quiet and cautious as we photographed these amazing large seabirds.
I leave to pick up my next group in the early morning but I wanted to share with you some of the images I created so far. Click on the images below to see the larger full version-thanks.