Back to Dun!
Last week I revisited all the puffin burrows on Dun that were marked in May. Monitoring nests like this over a season allows us to calculate productivity (the number of young per breeding attempt) and with this data we can assess how successful the breeding season has been and compare success between years.
Some burrows were very obviously occupied; an active burrow usually has a messy latrine at the entrance and trampled vegetation from the adult birds moving in and out.
In previous years, productivity on Dun has been relatively poor, but this year many of the burrows contained rather large fat chicks that looked almost ready to fledge.
There were a small number of young pufflings and of course it wouldn't be right not to add an image with the 'awwwwwww' factor!
I can't calculate exact breeding success until I return to Dun and check what happened to the small pufflings. Based on the information I have it looks 60-70% of nests fledged a chick. This is a large increase on previous years when less than half of all marked burrows were successful.
The island somehow 'felt' different this year. With so many chicks needing to be fed there were of course huge numbers of birds carrying fish.
And with so many birds flapping about, I'm not sure how these fulmars managed to get any rest!