Activity increases as more birds arrive and parents take turns incubating eggs
Activity on puffin cameras really picked up in the last week, with lots of puffins appearing on land, walking between the burrows and clumsily taking off to go out to sea and fish.
You should hopefully have got a much clearer view of the birds now, but keep watching if not as activity will only increase when chicks hatch in a week or two! One of the most striking features on a puffin is its bill, so large in size and very bright. This has earned them the nickname ‘clown of the sea’ as their markings resemble old fashioned clown face paint and they can look a little silly when they are on land, rather than at home on and in the water when they are much more graceful.
Their black and white markings helped bring about their Latin name Fratercula arctica – the first part, Fratercula, means ‘little friar’ – their markings are said to look like a friar’s robes (a friar is another name for a monk). The little is fairly self-explanatory as they are only about 15-18cm tall!
While puffins may look unique there are actually four types of puffin! Our Atlantic puffins are the only one to have the blue triangle at the base of their bill – have you seen one close enough to spot all their beak colours yet?
Then there is the horned puffin, which has a much more yellow bill and breed on the western seaboard of the USA and northern Asia. Tufted puffins, unsurprisingly, have feathered tufts on their head in the breeding season; they are also a little larger than the other species but breed in the same area as the horned puffin.
Finally there is the rhinoceros auklet – it was misnamed as they look quite different but genetic analysis showed it is actually a puffin. They are much darker than the other species and are mainly nocturnal, also present in similar areas to the other 2 Pacific species.
Keep watching as in the next week or two the puffins will start bringing back fish for their young pufflings – will you be the first to spot a puffin with fish?