Sunday, July 30, 2017

Puffin Update

The number of puffins on Cliff Cam 2 is lower and lower every day.  Our awesome puffling photographer Pete captured some more great shots on July 30, including this one.  See more at the site for Cliff Cam 2.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Variations on a Puffin

Before my trip to Shetland, I knew about Puffins and thought they were cute, but I wasn't especially enamored of them.  I hadn't spent any time watching them, and to me they were just another strange looking exotic bird.  I began to appreciate them more for their cuteness and interesting ethology as I watched the webcams in preparation for my trip there in June.  Nothing compares to actually seeing, hearing, and smelling them on the cliffs, though. My photographs from the trip don't really capture their beauty, but I have collected a few screen shots since my trip that feature them more close-up.
If you look closely, you can spy a few Puffins, as well as some Fulmars on the cliff. This picture was taken on June 3, 2017, when I was hiking to Sumburgh Head Light.
Here is a Puffin captured on a screen shot of Cliff Cam 2 on June 28, 2017. 
As August approaches they are getting ready to migrate from their breeding grounds on the cliffs, to warmer climes to the south. The offspring, a single "puffling", generally leaves the burrow for the first time on its inaugural flight to the sea, when it is 3-4 months old, and remains afloat for 2 years before establishing its own cliff abode for breeding. This and other fascinating seabird facts can be found at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory site.
The webcams continue to be a source of wonder that keep my trip there fresh in my mind.  A few days ago, while casually watching Cliff Cam 2, I spied what appeared to be a puffling. They are known to be elusive, only emerging from the burrow long enough to expel waste when it's dark, so it was rather exciting to catch a glimpse of one.  It was fun to share the blurry screen shot with fellow cam-watchers, who enthusiastically confirmed that it was a puffling.
Other webcam watchers shared their own screen shots, and then one of them who happened to be visiting Shetland (LUCKY) went to Sumburgh Head for a look. After a few hours and some time in the rain, he captured some great pictures of the little one, which you can see in the comments section of the webcams on July 26, 2017.
The focus of this post is the Puffin, although I do have lots more to say about the webcams, and will do so in the next post. Having learned about my burgeoning interest in the Puffin, my pal and fiber guru Oogyknitter decided to make me a stuffed Puffin.  As you know, there is no limit to the imagination and ingenuity of knitwear designers, and Browneyedbabs' Puffin is a prime example of this. The pattern indicates that his name is Jamie, but I have named mine Sumbie.
It's Bring Your Puffin to Work Day!  Sumbie is here to meet the Camel Knitters.
Oogy and I decided to spend some time dyeing when she visited recently.  Based on the Puffin theme, we generated some roving with Puffin colors.

This became singles, and then was plied, and is now temporarily a knitted swatch.  I'll unravel that and add it to the rest of the yarn I spin to make a hat eventually.

  Sumbie and his fellow Puffins are awesome!