The birds return to land, but it doesn't all go smoothly
The puffins returned to land this year on Thursday 2nd April – amid much drama as a buzzard was seen eating one of the puffins on colony cam! A great black-backed gull managed to scavenge some of the remains, again all seen on camera. While this can be a sad moment for all of us puffin fans, it’s part of the natural cycle of life on a seabird colony (don't forget about our teaching and learning resources on the seabirds, available to all). We obviously hope the same fate does not await more of the puffins given the small size of the Burhou colony. It does show the range of wildlife at home on the islet, with rabbits and other gull species also in the camera frame.
Spring cleaning starts
While all this was going on some of the puffins got down to the important task of repairing any damage to the burrows inflicted over winter. This means digging out any collapsed areas and removing soil and debris that might have washed in. If the puffins are out of shot you might notice clumps of earth flying across the screen as the little birds use their powerful beak and feet to excavate their burrows. They will also be bringing back grass and other plants to make their nest ready for the arrival of a chick.
Many will still be on the water as they come and go from fishing trips, feeding up ready for the breeding season ahead of them.
The action might be a little slow to start with but soon there will be many more puffins on land.
Colony cam will continue to move, either to carry out surveys or to get the best view of the puffins. April is an important time for the AWT to carry out raft counts of the puffins as they have not yet been joined by non-breeders. The counts now give the best representation of the true number of puffins breeding on Burhou this year.
Look out for other wildlife like oystercatchers and shags as the camera does its afternoon tour at 4pm.