Our popular puffins are back!

Posted on May 19th 2015
Joe Pender puffin picture

Scilly puffin

Our most popular seabirds are back! Puffins were seen in double figures this week during the St Agnes Boating Wildlife Safari. Although they can be spotted from March onwards, May marks the start of their breeding season and numbers peak by the end of the month.

This year the Seabird Recovery Project, working to conserve and protect our seabirds, glimpsed its first puffin on 20th April at the Western Rocks. Where exactly they spend the winter is still a mystery, but we know that they return from the expanse of the North Atlantic Ocean. Puffins live for about 18 years so the birds you’ll see know our islands very well!

By now there are around 40 birds here seeking out their mate. Sadly, and inevitably, not all pairs are reunited but a bird will find a new partner if this happens. They raise one chick each year, taking it in turns to keep the egg warm. You’ll see our puffins going in and out of burrows – nest-making, flying to catch sand eels, returning with food in their beaks, and bobbing about in the water having a well-earned rest!

By August they will have left us again for the open waters so don’t leave it too late if you want to experience them. In partnership with the Seabird Recovery Project, and led by an Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust Ranger, St Agnes Boating Wildlife Safaris run every Wednesday afternoon throughout the summer. Conditions permitting, the Safari departs St Agnes quay at 1pm and costs £15 with a child rate available. You can also enjoy regular boat trips to see puffins with St Mary's Boatmen's Association, Island Sea Safaris and Calypso Boating.

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