Friday, August 15, 2014


Today we took a boat tour to see puffins and hopefully whales, but we saw no whales as they have moved on.  It was about a 15-20 minute (rough) boat ride out to the island that the puffins have made their dens in.  The island is uninhabited by people.  The only people that are allowed to go on the island are the biologists that study them.  There were thousands of puffins on the island along with sea gulls, the Common Murre, and the Black-Backed gull (a predator of the puffin).  The Common Murre is a cousin to the puffin and looks similar to a penguin.  The Puffins live at sea about 8 months of the year and only come to land to breed.  Once the chick is big enough, the parents will leave the nest and the chick will stay in it's den until runs out of food and then it will fly from the den to the ocean.  Puffin chicks will follow the moon to head out to sea, and are often confused by lights from the cities around the island and will end up in the city and the puffin patrol will go looking for lost puffin chicks and return them to the ocean.  A young puffin will stay at sea for the first 4 years of it's life before returning to land to find it's mate and breed, puffins will mate for life.  There were 2 puffin chicks on the boat that had been rescued the night before and they were being returned to the ocean.  The boat crew took them out of their crate and placed them on the floor of the boat with the idea that they would go to the water.  One had to be helped into the water and the other one found it's way to the water after a slight hesitation.  It was a good experience and none of us got sick.  There were people around us that had plastic bags, but we took our Dramamine and managed to keep our cookies untossed! 

LOTS of puffins

LOTS of Common Murre

Common Murre

Puffin Chick

puffin chick

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