Sunday 14th April comments: Its always a big Isle of May event when our Puffins return to the island in late March and today we celebrated the next stage of their breeding season; the confirmation that birds are now incubating eggs.
An early morning check of burrows revealed a nesting bird although it’s still very early days as the majority of burrows were empty. Adults are still pair bonding and the vast majority of eggs will be laid over the next few weeks. Despite this, its still great news for the island and the Puffin population that we now have the first egg.
In recent years the discovery of the first Puffin egg has been around similar a time with indications showing that in 2017 it was 13th April, in 2016 it was 15th April and 2015 it was 13th April. However last years breeding season was late as the ‘Beast from the East’ delayed the entire breeding season with the first eggs not discovered until 24th April.
As well as burrow checks we also use the appearance of the first adults carrying Sand-eels as a good indicator for the first egg date. We simply note the first adult carrying fish (indicating a chick has hatched) and count back 40 days (the time it takes a Puffin to incubate an egg) – its a simplistic method but it gives us an egg laying date as accurate as we can get it. So we have an egg and now we will hopefully have plenty more Puffins.