Match of the day?
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Atlantic Puffins in RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve|
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) is a seabird species in the auk family. It is a pelagic bird that feeds primarily by diving for fish, but also eats other sea creatures, such as squid and crustaceans. Its most obvious characteristic is its brightly colored beak during the breeding seasons. Also known as the Common Puffin, it is the only puffin species which is found in the Atlantic Ocean. The curious appearance of the bird, with its colorful huge bill and its striking piebald plumage, has given rise to nicknames such as "clown of the ocean" and "sea parrot".
The Atlantic Puffin is 28-34 centimeters in length, with a 50-60 cm wingspan. The male is slightly larger than the female, but they are colored alike. This bird is mainly black above and white below, with gray to white cheeks and red-orange legs. The bill is large and triangular, and during the breeding season is bright orange with a patch of blue bordered by yellow at the rear. The characteristic bright orange bill plates grow before the breeding season and are shed after breeding. The bills are used in courtship rituals, such as the pair tapping their bills together. During flight, it appears to have grey round underwings and a white body; it has a direct flight low over the water. The related Horned Puffin (Fratercula corniculata) from the North Pacific looks very similar but has slightly different head ornaments.
The Atlantic Puffin is typically silent at sea, except for soft purring sounds it sometimes makes in flight. At the breeding colonies the birds make a deep growl.
Distribution and ecology
This species breeds on the coasts of northern Europe, Faroe Islands, Iceland and eastern North America, from well within the Arctic Circle to northern France and Maine. The winter months are spent at sea far from land - in Europe as far south as the Mediterranean, and in North America to North Carolina. About 95% of the Atlantic puffins in North America breed around Newfoundland's coastlines.
The largest puffin colony in the western Atlantic (estimated at more than 260,000 pairs) can be found at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, south of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Predators of the Atlantic Puffin include the Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) and similar-sized species, which can catch a puffin in flight, or pick off one separated from the colony. Smaller gull species like the Herring Gull (L. argentatus) are hardly able to bringing down a healthy adult puffin, but take eggs or recently hatched chicks, and will also steal fish.
Feeding areas are often located 100 kilometers offshore from the nest or more, though when provisioning young the birds venture out only half that distance. Atlantic Puffins can dive for distances of up to 70 m (200 ft) and are propelled by their powerful wings which are adapted for swimming. They use their webbed feet as a rudder while submerged. Puffins collect several small fish when hunting, and line them up in their bills facing alternately to each side. They use their tongues to hold the fish against spines in their palate, leaving their beaks free to open and catch more fish. Additional components of their diet are crustaceans and mollusks. A puffin can sometimes have a dozen or more fish in its beak at once.
Atlantic Puffins are colonial nesters, using burrows on grassy cliffs. They will also nest amongst rocks and scree. Male puffins perform most of the work of clearing out the nest area, which is sometimes lined with grass, feathers or seaweed. The only time spent on land is to nest, and mates are found prior to arriving at the colonies.
The Atlantic Puffin is sexually mature at the age of 4-5. The species is monogamous and has biparental care. A single-egg clutch is produced each year, and incubation responsibilities are shared between both parents. Total incubation time is around 39-45 days, and the chick takes about 49 days to fledge. At fledging, the chick leaves the burrow alone, and flies/swims out to sea, usually during the evening. Contrary to popular belief, young puffins are not abandoned by their parents (although this does occur in some other seabirds, such as shearwaters). Synchronous laying of eggs is found in Atlantic Puffins in adjacent burrows.
Argus, darwin, aido, jaycee, Adanac, maurydv, nglen, Hil, bobair, gracious has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
|You must be logged in to start a discussion.|
- [2008-03-29 4:28]
This is an excellent capture of a group of Puffins in a classic pose. The diagonal composition, lighting colours and sharpness are all first class.
A very nice image to view and thanks for sharing it,
Have a good weekend,
- [2008-03-29 7:01]
hard to pass this picture, those puffins are so cute and colorful they will catch my eye any day.
ery nice capture, very well composed , very nice how they lined up in a diagonal line.
Great sharp details and the colors are lovely.
- [2008-03-29 7:40]
Nice light and color
Very good sharpness and detail
Great capture.tfs jon
- [2008-03-29 7:48]
Great title :-) A good shot of these Puffins, I wasn't aware they were as far south as Yorkshire. Nice diagonal composition, perferct DOF to defocus that cold and grey North Sea. Great detail and colour. A shame the sunlight was so harsh as it has led to some blown highlights. These are difficult birds to photograph in anything but the best of light.
- [2008-03-29 8:49]
The one bird I most want to get to see is the Puffin. And here you have captured four of them beautifully in wonderful poses. Each one has wonderful clarity and detail and beautiful colors. I love the composition.
- [2008-03-29 14:24]
What a bevy of colorful beauties you share today. Great composition, colors and details in this fine image, thank you.
Bellissima immagine, eccellenti POV e composizione, buoni i dettagli e magnifici i colori. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio
- [2008-03-29 15:08]
Hi Pekka. Just love this one. full of colour and detail. good use of the light and a nice pose all looking the same way. well done TFS. very good nates too.
- [2008-03-29 16:01]
Excellent shot of the cute Puffins, great POV I like your diagonal compostion with the Puffins nicely spaced out and isolated from the BG behind their heads, the lights looks like it was quite strong so you coped well the exposure of difficult whites and blacks.
- [2008-03-31 16:22]
man ,am I ever envious of this photo as Puffins are such lovely looking little birds and ones I want to see so very much.This little group has very nice details,colour and point of view working well for it.I would add it to my favorite but I have reached my 100 picture limit.A spot on photo and I thank you for sharing it with us. Bob
- [2008-04-01 17:47]
Très belle photo avec de belles couleurs. J'aime la composition et le détail.
A very fine and beautiful image of the Puffins!
great pov of them in total sharpness, vivid colour and superb details
the lighting is so beautiful in the shot
very well done
même avec un teleconvertisseur monté sur l'objectif le piqué reste tres bon.
les couleurs naturelles et l'exposition bien maitrisée.