Friday, September 7, 2018

Atlantic Puffin

There are three species of puffin and I'd previously seen two of them, the horned puffin and the tufted puffin, during a visit to Alaska. In a recent visit to Maine and Eastern Canada I saw the third species, the Atlantic Puffin
Atlantic puffin. 
Judy, Andrew and I took a whale watching tour with Quoddy Link Marine out of Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, out into the Bay of Fundy. We saw a few Atlantic Puffins from a great distance, but I was not able to get any photos of them. 
The orange feet and legs are visible in this flying puffin. 
Later during our trip, as part of a cruise with Judy's siblings on Holland America, from Boston to Montreal, I took a ship tour with my brother-in-law, Pete DeLong. We were on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and took the Bird Island Boat Tour in the Bras d'Or Lake UNESCO Biosphere Reserve between Baddeck and North Sydney. We saw lots of puffins, but usually at great distances. All except one were in open water. Fortunately, I got a few good photos out of the many I took. 
The two species of puffin I'd seen previously are only found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic puffin is only found in the northern Atlantic Ocean. It breeds in the west coast of Ireland, portions of the United Kingdom, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and in lesser concentrations as far south as Maine. 
This gives the sense of multiple puffins flying, although it is not in good focus. 
The forehead, crown, nape, back, wings and tail are glossy black (by the end of the breeding season the gloss may be lost, or even looking brown). A black collar extends around the neck and throat. Each side of the head, behind the eye, has a patch of pale gray. The shape of the head at the bottom of the patch makes a crease that looks like a gray or black line from the eye to the edge of the patch. The iris is brown or dark blue and has a red orbital ring. The underparts, including the breast and belly, are white. The legs and webbed feet are orange. From the side, the beak looks broad and triangular, but from above it looks very thin. The forward-half of the beak, toward the tip, is orange/red. The back half is slate/gray, but almost looks green in some photos I've seen. The two halves are separated by a yellow, chevron shaped ridge, and the base of the bill has a yellow fleshy/strip. At the back of the bill, on the face, is a round, wrinkled, yellow rosette. 
This provides a good view of the colored beak and pale/gray patch behind the eye. This puffin is in a small wave trough which hides the rest of its body. 
The horned puffin looks quite a bit alike, but its beak is only one-quarter red, the rest is yellow, instead of slate/gray, and there is no colored divider. The round rosettes are red to yellow. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the eyes, which remind me of a mime, and which are color-coordinated with their beak.