Flying Puffins

I’m currently without my telephoto lens. It’s being repaired. That means my prime chance of photographing Puffins is going to waste. I’m standing, a forlorn looking figure, at the Castle o’ Burrian surrounded by flying Puffins. Tragic.

I decide I’m going to try photographing them anyway and I get my backup camera out. I may not have a telephoto lens but I’ll camouflage myself and get close to their flightpath past the cliffs instead:

Flying Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Incoming!

Flying Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I love they way they spread their feet wide and flutter as they come in towards land:

Flying Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s one flying straight past me with one of Westray’s wind turbines behind it:

Flying Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’m making the best of it with a 150mm focal length lens and getting very close to them to make up for it:

Then I see one come past with fish:

Flying Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Being without my lens hasn’t been so tragic after all. What is tragic is that Puffins are likely to face extinction. They mate for life, live 20 years and nest in their ancestral homes, yet their food supply is being disrupted through global warming. They can’t survive having their nest and their food in different places. The forecast is that there will be less than half the current number of Puffins by 2065. The likely worst case is that there will only be a fifth of the current population left. They are listed as ‘vulnerable to global extinction’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of endangered species. That helps me put my troubles into perspective. Now that is tragic.

It really is a beautiful beak full of delicious fish:

Flying Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Perfect for a hungry puffling: but for how much longer?

It’s time for us to go back home and eat.

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