Sunday 18th July comments: We’ve been talking about the Pufflings on the march in recent blogs but today we talk about the Puffins themselves – the adults.
Atlantic Puffins have been with us since late March although nesting started slightly later this year with the first egg laid on 17th April. Thereafter parents shared incubation duties underground until after approximately 40 days, the egg hatched. This year the first adults carrying fish (which indicates that young have hatched and need feeding) occurred on 26th May and thereafter thousands of birds hatched across the island. From mid-June, the island was alive with adult Puffins flying from first light until dusk, heading out to sea to find prey and feed their hungry youngsters.
The first Puffling started walking for independence from 5th July and since then we’ve had big number depart. So now what? Well the good news; it’s not over. The Isle of May national nature reserve supports over 40,000 pairs of Puffins, the third biggest colony in the U.K and the largest on the east coast, so we still have many thousands of young to go. However once early August arrives, the vast majority of youngsters will have gone and then with no responsibility, the adults can depart as well. Puffins will then head out to sea for the winter, not to return to the Isle of May until the following spring.
So if you want to see Puffins our advice is to not wait too long, the first wave of birds will depart by early August and then the final stragglers will leave by mid-August. You have been warned….