Today has been a really sunny, breezy day close to the puffin islands. We have paid several visits to Engey and Lundey, where we have seen most of our little friends carrying lots of sandeels to their chiks. We also spotted a massive concentration of seabirds close to Lundey (kittiwakes, fulmars, puffins, black baked seagulls...) all of them feeding on the same fish school. It´s feeding time!
Rain or shine puffins are out!
They might not look very graceful when they take off but once they are airborne they can go. They often overtake us when we sail at about 35 knots. 1 knot is 1,8 km or 1,15 miles an hour, you can do the math. And that's not even top speed, it's their cruising flight to head out fishing. Impressive birds!
The pufflings, puffin chicks, are safe in their burrow at the moment, waiting for their parents to bring back some fish. They are not the only ones, Black-legged kittiwakes also breed on Lundey. Their chicks can be seen on their nest on the cliffs, very cute ball of down. Herring gulls chicks also wander about on the rocks.
Today was a great day to spot Puffins in all our trips we had a lot of them really close to the boat, actually in one of the tours we had some Puffins very curious about the boat and we could see them 2-3 meters away.
In Engey in the 14.30 trip we spot a small Puffin chick, a puffling briefly sneaking the head out of the burrow and flapping the wings a bit to practice.
And in the last tour of the day we had one Harbor Porpoise very close to Engey too.
Despite the clouds this season, it was another successful day for people watching. Puffins only have to step outside of their burrows and wait on the rocky ledge. Sure enough, a boat comes now and again with colorfully dressed humans aboard. They come from all over the world and all share happy smiles when they see puffins up close.
Today is a rough sea at Faxafloi. The wind was picking up, strong currents and big waves. So our little friends decided to be close home for the whole day. Bad for them, because they couldn't fish, but we had the chance to take thousands of pics of thousands of puffins. Nice afternoon for the puffin lovers.
We been seeing lately several arctic skuas also known has parasitic jaeger patrolling the small islands close to Reykjavik. They try to rob the puffins and other birds like the kittiwakes of their catches. At this time of the summer we can see several puffins bringing small fish like capelin and sand-ells in their beak to their burrows to feed the young pufflings.
We all like summer and sun, but if you live inside a burrow without heater, even more. So today we had happy puffins and happy visitors in the puffin islands. The little ones were enjoying sunbaths on their favourite spots (rocks, grass and water), while getting ready for another parenthood day. They were having all the eyes on them.
Many puffins could be seen flying in towards the island of Akurey and Engey today. The nice easterly breeze allowed them to take flight a lot easier than on calm days. Many at fish in their bill, bringing them back to their puffling waiting in the burrow.
Update from the last tour leaving at 5:30 pm. There was sunshine! Puffins and sun, a winning combo every time.
Quite a lot of puffins could be seen out, the adults are busy bringing fish back to the burrows. Meaning some of the eggs have hatched and little pufflings are waiting for their food. They are not the only ones, Arctic skuas loom over the puffins and pursue some unfortunate parents until they release their fish. This stealing behaviour bears the fancy name of kleptoparasitism, the skua's specialty. If you can't dive, find someone who does and take their catch.
The puffins were active today despite the windy and rainy morning. Puffins were hanging about mostly in the ocean gathering food around the islands in Faxaflói bay area,flying past fulmars full speed with fish in their mouths. A line formed for a stick where the puffins dove off to catch some wind.
Incredibly, summer gave us a glimpse. A little one though, but worth to witness. For us and for the puffins. They were more active than usual, batteries sun charged. And the light allowed us to appreciate even more their beautiful details. A really nice summer visit to their, now we can say it, summerhouses.
Another rainy, yet lovely day close to the puffin island. The rain just cannot stop our little friends! They were rafting close to nus, coming by showing big amounts of fish hanging from the mouth, ready to feed the little pufflings. Hope they are having a nice season!
Today was a mysterious day around the puffin islands. An unbreakable mist was covering the summerhouses of our little neighbors, but that hasn't impede them to enjoy of a day full of rafting on the ocean, some fishing and some cuddling to the pufflings, which are with us already! Lots of dedicated parents were with mouths full of fish to feed the little ones. Such good parents!
Such a smooth sailing on all our RIB tours today. With so little wind, most of the puffins stayed on the water, gathered in big rafts. The tours happening during high tide also had a great viewing of them close to their burrows.
Unfortunately the Express Puffin tours were cancelled today due to poor weather. Hoping for better weather soon.
Even puffins deserved a day off once and again.
We observed a few from our whale watching tours departing but no express puffin tours were conducted today.
It seems that is not only us that want to pay visits to our puffins. It´s been two days in a roe that a curious grey seal came along our RIB in the middle of the tour to check what was going on. To make that visit worthy, the puffins were all over the islands in vast numbers. We found them standing on the rocks with moody neighbors that didn´t want their company (like the great black backed seagulls), but with other more puffin friendly species as well. Another nice day for the visitors to our puffin islands.
Today was another one of this summer-winter days in Iceland. Not so good for the puffin´s fishing routine, but amazing to spot them all day long. We had encountered hundreds of our friends showing all kinds of behaviours, from playful moments to chill out puffin session rafting on the sea. During the afternoon, when close to Akurey, a head popped out of the water: a grey seal came along the boat to make the day perfect for the visitors of our puffin islands.
So many puffins !!! Seabirds do not mind the rain and managed to makes us forget it too today. Most of our passengers came from the States and braved the rain to visit the puffins, everybody came back with a smile and head full of puffins images flying all over or walking on the rocks.
ps: click on the pictures to see the next in the slideshow