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Puffin close-up

Puffins on the island of Lunga are anything but camera shy.

Before early spring the Island of Lunga is a fairly desolate place. The only time it's busy is during the nesting season when the puffins arrive in early spring and stay throughout the summer. For the rest of the year they float about in the Atlantic somewhere and never come ashore. The Island of Lunga is an old favourite of Gordon Buchanan's: he first came here when he was ten. Puffins can live up to 25 years and they use the same burrow year after year. So the birds up here could well be the same ones he saw on that very first visit. There are puffins nesting all along the edge of the cliff here. The puffins seem amazingly trusting and not scared by Gordon's proximity at all. One comes out of his burrow. The burrows are about 2 or 3 feet deep and the puffins lay a solitary egg in it. When the chick hatches it stays in there until it nears maturity. It’ll only start to come out at night time and get to know the area, so that in about five years time when it comes back to breed it knows where to come. You don’t have to hang around for too long to see that puffins are expert fishermen. Around Lunga, sand eels are the most common catch. Gordon gets so close to a puffin he could almost touch it.

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