Sunday, 5 June 2011

An important announcement:

This was just a random ship at the harbour that I wanted a photo of. Lundi means puffin btw.

I'm interrupting the meme-thingy because the sea festival was on during this weekend and naturally we wanted to go. There's other, perhaps more interesting stuff to follow, but let's get my own personal favourite out of the way first.


Esja from an unusual angle.

We got on a small ship to visit the nearby puffin cliffs! Atlantic puffins are the cutest birds ever and actually they could well get their mention in the "9 Things I Like" -meme, so how about putting them for the #4?

Ok then, here goes: #4. Atlantic Puffins.

It's still an early summer so they're shy and didn't let us very close, but I still managed to take a couple of photos.

Many of them flew in pairs. Puffins are monogamous, the guide explained us, and the males will only take a new girl if the old one dies or doesn't arrive to the breeding grounds. However, if the old one decides to show up after all the male dumps the new wife and takes her back. :D

While waiting to get closer to the puffins we found another type of bird that was not shy at all, or more like they found us and started circling us either in hopes of getting food or just to keep an eye on us.

More seagulls.

But back to the puffins. The day was cloudy and the tide was out, and the waves were high. The puffin cliffs are rocky and the captain didn't want to take us any closer despite of one tourist lady who kept making loud remarks on how she wanted to get closer and how she was SO disappointed with the trip. But what can you do, they're wild animals and if they don't want to be near us - well, shame, but it's not like you can force them. Likewise you cannot force the captain of the ship to sail it straight into mortal danger.

Sort of reminds me of the tourists that make complaints that the aurora they had wanted to see "weren't turned on for them". IMO we got plenty near the birds and I got photos of them, just as I had hoped to.

These three were an interesting group: I'm guessing that's a puffin couple and their last year's puffling!

If you look at the bird in the middle closely you'll see he looks like he's got a "black eye" and his beak is smaller than an adult bird's. At two years' age puffins have grown to look like adult birds, that's why I'm supposing this is a one year old.

The hatching failed last year, and has done so for a couple of years before. The little fish puffins need for their pufflings are becoming scarce. Some years the nests were abandoned halfway, some years they didn't even lay eggs.

No one knows why exactly this is happening, or what the puffins will do next. 

Swimmers out at sea. Puffins spend half of the year out at the open sea and only come on land for the nesting season.

A flying puffin looks like a creator's joke. :D All furious flapping and a body that looks very unlikely to ever stay airborne. When landing in water, puffins raise their feet up and go under tail end first. They can probably land diving too, but since they don't need to do that in order to get properly underwater I'm not sure if they ever do it.

They can dive straight down from the surface of the water and are masterful at swimming. It looks like they're flying underwater.

Their beaks and tongue are rough to better grab at fish, which they can pile in their mouths huge amounts. 

Moar puffins! :3

Eventually we had to turn back, but we're planning to go on another tour on Monday - see you soon, puffins! :33333

The sea was rather rough indeedy.