The puffins depart for 2019 after a good season here on Alderney. They will now be heading off into the Atlantic for the winter. Each puffin has its own specific journey, roughly followed each year and based on where it found fish on its first winter. Some travel great distances to the south of Iceland and back, while others stick a little closer to home, wintering not far off Ireland.
The Alderney Wildlife Trust carried out the end of season surveys in late July, and it appears that the puffins have had a similar year to 2018 from burrow checks. The ecologists look for signs of puffins breeding in the burrows including feathers, poo and a fishy smell. This is combined with raft counts of the birds out on the water to give an estimate of the population on Burhou and their breeding success. Raft counts were up on 2018, hopefully pointing to signs that the population will be healthy in years to come as young non-breeding birds often raft together with the breeders.
Watch a clip of the team carrying our the Apparently Occupied Burrow surveys below!
We hope you’ve enjoyed following the story of the Alderney puffins this spring and summer, and we look forward to them arriving back on Burhou next April!