U nbelievably cute
I nvesting in just 1 egg
I first got to see puffins on the Saltee Islands, off Kilmore Quay in Wexford. Love at first sight!
Now I try to make the trip every year in late May. Of course this year, I can’t go – I miss them. In early summer, the island is covered in bluebells , sea campion, and thrift. If you are lucky the sea is sparkling and clear, turquoise over the sand.
The Saltees are wonderful – there are great outcrops of rocks in the sea, thick with gannets rearing their chicks , doing their lovemaking ritual and wheeling above.
The guillimots guard their eggs with feather umbrellas , precarious on the edge of the cliff.
Razorbills with their precise markings line the edges alongside the other birds.
The shags have already laid their eggs, sitting over them in crevices and under rocks.
The huge black backed gulls are more private rearing their chicks a little further inland. They are fiercely protective and will dive bomb visitors who come too close.
Puffins are my favourite – so cute and comical in appearance, but serious in their intention! They lay only one egg in a burrow dug by their specially adapted beak, sometimes an old rabbit burrow. Intent on their own business, they are not too shy of visitors with long lenses. You can sit beside them quietly watching their comings and goings for hours.
Puffins live at sea and only return to the cliffs to mate and lay their egg. The abundance of food in the summer means the chicks will have more chance of surviving if born and reared then.
They don’t begin breeding until they are 4, 5 or even 7 years old, usually with the same partner and returning to where they were born every year.
Puffins may live to 50 years or more!
I am sharing some of my photos on the Saltees with you. There are plenty of puffins on my website, on lamps, tablemats and coasters, prints, cards, mugs, aprons and t towels – as you can see, I’m a bit obsessed! www.annabellangrish.ie/collections/all-about-puffins