Taking A Puffin Break / by Michael Johns

Every morning, following a hot cup of coffee and a quick tune in to NPR, we head up to our respective blinds to check a series of common murre plots. Using a map of known sites and a pair of binoculars, we scan the plots looking for birds that have laid an egg. It's at task that a times can be quite tedious, particular for sites tucked behind rocks or other birds, which makes it difficult to see their feet. The tedium, however, is occasionaly broken by a sighting of a blue whale just off the island, a surprise visit by a brown booby, or a fly by of a puffin, the islands most decorated bird. The photo above shows a tufted puffin coming in for a landing over a dense colony of common murres, holding nesting material in its bill.