It was an excellent Shetland summer day at Sumburgh Head today. I went with the express purpose of taking pics of Puffins.
At least one Puffin picture day per year is a legal requirement for folk in Shetland - this stems from the Puffin Picture Annual Requirement Regulations (Zetland) 2001, transposed from the Eh Up Directive "Macaroon [Picture] Requirements - EC/111/Eh Up_TOSH/BBC/ITV/DIY" etc.......
['le macareux moine' is french for Puffin, which naturally tranposes in 'euro-ese' to 'macaroon']
I arrived to find Funky Aiden in full Puffin picture taking mode - he had previously been made aware of the regultions and was keen to fullfill his annual committment. Indeed, during the course of the day, a not inconsiderable number of Zetlanders made their annual pilgrimage to 'da head' to tick off their annual Puffin picture legislative requirements.
Word had obviously got round, as representaives from both SNH & the RSPB were on hand to certify compliance with the regulations & ensure that all such compliant (and non-compliant) activities were accurately recorded. I personally had my ticket well & truly clipped by a very pleasant young lady with 'boobies' written across her t-shirt - & very nice it was too !!!!!!
Anyhoo...... heres some Puffin pics.
Puffins are naturally inquisitive - this one was asking what I was doing?
This one decided to put on a shown - he was trained from an egg as a contortionist.
WHIT'S YUN - boy, boy, boy!!!
A Puffin's beak is actually very thin. Also notice the inner claw - it points sideways & is useful for scraping soil out of the nesting burrow (& all the claws are VERY sharp).
This one was feeling a little tired - it was a warm day after all.
Time for a snooze in the sun. Notice the 'nail' above & below the eye. Its part of the breeding plumage & is lost during the winter months, as is the grey base to the beak and the yellow fleshy area at the hinge of the beak.
As you can see from this immature bird that was 'prospecting' a future nest site. It still has a dark side to its face and has not grown the decorative sheath at the base of the bill the adults grow in summer breeding plumage. The adults bill looks much like this during the winter. This immature bird also has much paler legs.
An adult's bill - 3 grooves in the bill as opposed to 1 & a bit in the immature above.
A breeding pair at the entrance to their burrow.
and.....my favourite picture of the day....
and some of an adult