I admit, I felt a sense of both, deep satisfaction and relief that night as I went over my images.
It had been a long, long day and one that didn’t really go as per plan. Almost everything went off course and it was evening by the time we clambered up the slope at Hornoya, exhausted to even appreciate the beauty around us. We still had an hour or so of sunlight left and we resolved to put our tiredness aside and make the rather strenuous walk to the other side of the island, and try to get a few images.
I had first heard of this wondrous bird, the Puffin, as a little boy, lost in the wonderful adventures of the many characters that Enid Blyton created. The names, Huffin and Puffin stayed with me and it was decades later that I started seeing images of puffins. ( By the way, if you are keen, check out Kevin Morgans’ images of the puffins from Skomer Island. Its breathtaking ( https://www.kevinmorgans.com )
That first evening, it seemed as if I was in Puffin capital. There were countless puffins all around us nonchalantly waddling around, or gazing out to the sea as if anxiously waiting for someone long lost.
Honestly...doesn't it look like a worried parent waiting for the kid to return home ?
April in Hornoya meant a lot of snow and that evening itself I started trying for some of the shots that I had dreamt of for years. Looking at the camera screen that night, it was evident that I had a few good ones.
Almost exactly what I had long wanted !
One look at the Puffin and you will know why everyone adores them.
Their shape for one.
Slightly stocky in built, they have an undertakers’ black and white coats on them. But it’s the beak on the odd egg shaped head that catches your attention. Rather large and exceptionally colourful they stand out prominently. You can’t miss a puffin’s profile.
Our first sighting of the puffin here...that distinctive profile !
Their overall look for another.
They appear comically doleful at all times, their eyes perpetually oozing a mournful look. Often they would walk upto another pair and look at them in a puzzled sort of manner as if wondering how on earth could that guy get himself a girl and I haven’t ??
He ? HE?? HE got a girl !??? HOW !!!!!!???????
Lastly their movements. They are not exactly a ballet dancer’s role model.
They waddle around rather comically, quite like those clowns at a circus and I have seen more than one of them step on a loose bit of snow and come crashing down. Sometimes, even as they run before taking off, which does look quite funny. Instead of joyfully coasting through the air, they will be picking themselves up, spluttering in the snow.
And while they are good fliers, their landing could admittedly do with a bit more finesse. I often saw a puffin crash into the snow or into other birds, having totally misjudged its landing. We be chuckling away at their antics while looking through the camera eyepiece.
Elegance personified in the air...
...uh oh, that might not end well !!
For three days, we made merry. Took all sorts of images. Wide angle ones. Close ups. Of them fighting. Courting. Searching for homes. In flight. Landing. The works.
Here are some more of them.
Well, this looks more like a classy landing !
You could try different compositions, experiment with light here...a willing subject if ever there was one !
Including wide angle shots...they are unafraid of humans and can plonk right next to you
That's some serious self care going on !
Goodbye...till we meet again :(