Captain Coquet’s Corner: Puffins farewell
After that shaky bad weather start to the season on Coquet Island, the eiders, terns and puffins settled down to the business of nest building, egg laying and chick rearing. The weather improved and the birds were treated to weeks of glorious sunshine and a plentiful supply of sandeels (the puffin’s favourite snack).
The RSPB wardens carried out the puffin census in June, using state of the art endoscopes to check the nesting burrows. A grand total of 12,343 occupied puffin burrows were found – a slight fall in numbers from the last census five years ago, but still an impressive number of puffins. On a tiny island!
Most of the puffins have now left the island with their pufflings and a handful had to be rescued from getting stuck in the tall vegetation, which covers the island by the end of June.
This year has also seen a welcomed increase in roseate tern numbers with 77 pairs counted in July. All the chicks have been ringed so we can trace their progress in future years. One Coquet roseate was found in Poland last month – only the third recorded in that country. Apparently, even roseates go on holiday!