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England - Puffins galore
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 18:19
Written by Neil Gray

June 2009 during the second half of June I visited a variety of birding localities in England, from the exotic and indigenous waterfowl of the London Wetland Centre and Richmond Park, to the aviary and falconry display birds at Leeds Castle in Kent, and two RSPB reserves in the shadows of nuclear power stations at Dungeness, Kent and Minsmere, Suffolk.

A trip to the north of England took in Weardale and a day on the Farne Islands to see the nesting puffins - a tick on my personal birding "Bucket List".

I was certainly not disappointed with the day's outing. The boat ride was a pleasure on a millpond sea under a blazing sun. The thousands of puffins were hugely entertaining on both Staple Island and Inner Farne. The Arctic Terns divebombing me and my fellow visitors to Inner Farne, pecking at the tops of our heads, was also quite an experience, but I think for me the sight of the day was flying guillemots. These birds remind me of the African Penguins I have seen around Cape Point, back home in South Africa. They are most definitely not designed for flight and seem to challenge all the laws of aerodynamics!

Bird of the day was surprisingly not the puffin, as I might have expected it to be, but the Northern Fulmar - a single pair among the milling mass of tens of thousands of puffins, terns, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes.

It was great to get away from my usual southern African haunts and see something different. The trip turned up a total of 10 lifers, these being:

Black-legged Kittiwake, Northern Fulmar, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, European Golden Plover, Red-legged Partridge, Common Snipe, Little Owl, Smew & Goldeneye.

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 September 2012 10:58 )