Tuesday 29th June comments: Same date, same place but just one year apart. We have walkers…
This morning the first Puffling (Puffin youngster) was discovered fledged from the Isle of May, the same date as last years first walker. After 40 days of being fed by its parents, the bird is old enough and big enough to fend for itself so it was time to head to independence. Under the cover of darkness young Puffins (known as Pufflings) leave their underground burrow (without parents’ consent) and head for the open sea as they leave at night to avoid being eaten by large predatory Gulls.
Many of our Pufflings on the Isle of May will actually walk to the sea (rather than fly) and often follow the trails and pathways as it makes easier walking (better than stumbling through nettles and rank vegetation). However as its’ their first experience of the outside world, some get lost on the way down; but it’s not bad news as with a little helping hand the birds are sent on their merry way. For all the Pufflings on the island it is their first taste of the outside world and some don’t quite get it right. A few will end up in the visitor centre, or the toilets or even the showers (makes for an interesting start to the day when a Puffling looks up at you!) However it all ends well as we help them on their way and hopefully in three years time they’ll be returning to breed on colonies like the Isle of May.
So that’s it, the first Puffling is away and over the next 5-6 weeks we’ll be expecting many more night time walkers. The Pufflings are marching, be warned.