Puffin, Skomer

uffin, Skomer, 2011

Had a fantastic week in Pembrokeshire with Sarah and the Duchess. The Duchess before you ask, is our campervan and not a member of Royalty - no scandal here. We walked some of the coastal path and had some close up views of a kestrel feeding it's young on a cliff edge, dolphins and gannets out at sea and a great few hours on Skomer. We went to Skomer last year and were really looking forward to seeing the island and of course, the puffins again. The birds nest in burrows which are very close to the path and so the birds can come really close to you (so for the technically minded that's a 70-200 for close shots and a 300mm with 1.4x converter for the "coming in to land" shots). It is a really fantastic experience. This shot shows one of the little fellers with a mouth full of sand eels, back towards us and nonchalently wandering to his burrow trying not to attract the attention of the gulls who like sand eels but prefer to have them delivered rather than get them themselves. Brilliant. The only mystery in all of this (apart from is Sarah truly the most patient woman in the world?) is why is the manx shearwater called Puffinus puffinus and the puffin called Fratercula arctica? There must be a reason...