.

.
Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Today was the day!

A couple of days ago I ran across a pamphlet on the birds of Curry County Oregon.  That’s where I’m at.  Besides a list of all the birds that are possible to see in the county, the pamphlet also tells the best places for birding.  Harris Beach State Park is listed as THE place to see Tufted Puffins.

download

They nest on Bird/Goat Island.  Well, let me tell you that I’ve spent 20 hours a week for over six weeks scoping out and staring at Bird Island, and I hadn’t seen one tufted puffin.  They reportedly nest on the other side of the island that can’t be viewed from my overlook spot.  On top of that, they lay their one egg at the bottom of a tunnel or burrow that can be up to seven or more feet deep.  So the only time for me to really see them is when they are out fishing on the ocean.  (photo from the internet)

Well, today was the day, finally!  I saw a pair out floating on high tide about two hundred yards from the island.  There was no way to get a photo, as I barely found them through the spotting scope in amongst hundreds of common murres.  I literally jumped up and down, and turned around to alert folks of what they could see through the scope.  Ha!  A little squall had moved in, and I was just about the only one standing out in the light rain.  Sad smile However, that didn’t ‘dampen’ my little victory dance as I finally got to see this elusive species.  Made my day!

IMG_0477

The rain started coming down a bit heavier, so I grabbed the spotting scope off of the tripod and headed for the car for shelter.  Have to take care of the government’s property, don’t you know.  I rolled the side window down, and this western gull came sauntering over to the side of the car.  I suppose it was hoping for a handout.  Fat chance Mr. Gull!

IMG_0478

I sat there about a half an hour until the rain subsided, and this guy/gal was ever hopeful.  Can you see the red spot on its lower mandible?  It’s there for a reason.  When their chicks hatch, they see that red spot and peck at it.  That trips a response in the adult to regurgitate food for the young one’s appetite; much like a human baby cries when it’s hungry.

After the showers were done, I ended up having my busiest day so far on the overlook with 48 interested visitors.  The main draw for folks visiting here is the beach, and the sand, and the water, after all, so I felt pretty good introducing 48 adults and children to the wonders of the breeding birds that can barely be seen with the naked eye.

_MG_2128I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a wonderful visit earlier this week from my good friends, John and Bridget Hatch.  We volunteered together last summer at Tamarac NWR, and they are just about done with a volunteer stint at Tualatin NWR up near Portland, OR.

_MG_2130

John is my go to guy for problems with my rig, and Bridget and I just had so much fun working together last summer.  I had hoped to show them the breeding birds in the morning before they left, but the pesky morning fog rolled in and obliterated the islands.

Now that I’ve finally seen the puffins, I’m going to leave you with a question.  What do you think you call a baby puffin?

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

27 comments:

  1. A puffie? who knows, I am sure it is something crazy. Nice to see you having fun. I see there at least was a bit of sunshine in the afternoon when you had your visitors. Be grateful. Inland it is in the triple digits. The fog and chill can be tiresome, but so can trying to keep cool when it is 107 in Grants Pass and 97 here in Rocky Point.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I guess I'd call it a little puff! I agree you are in a good place rather than in the horrible heat many of us are suffering.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A puffling... I had to look it up..... I'm not that smart...........

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've got no idea but I'd like it a LOT if it were called Puff the magic dragon. My Mum loves birds. She would love to see one of those Puffins and she's real happy for you that you got to see one. She's not surprised it made your day. G'day Emma ...... how you doin'?????

    ReplyDelete
  5. Alright!! No idea what they call the young but glad you finally got to see a pair.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We were in that area the end of May and first two weeks of June. Rain, rain, rain every day but it was still beautiful. We visited Harris Beach and saw tons of Tufted Puffins. They are so dang cute. Hope your luck changes and you see tons of them too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Would love to spot a puffin too, to bad you could not get a pic.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I call most baby birds chicks, but now that I think about it, that might be kinda sexist.... Glad you finally saw your bird!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think I remember teaching my Kindergarten class they are called pufflings...
    I bet before your time is up, you will get your photo!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I call all babies tweedles...don't know why, but I do. Glad you finally got to see a puffin. The next goal is to get a photo, I suppose.

    That was interesting about the red spot on the gull. I never knew that or noticed it.

    I was wondering about the temperature there and when I saw that Bridget had on a jacket, I figured it was cool, until I noticed John was wearing a t-shirt.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Glad you got to see a puffin--don't think I've ever seen one. I would love some fog, mist and cool air about right now--92 degrees at our Montana home yesterday!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Not puffettes ;-) I think when we saw them in Svalbard we were told they are called pufflings. If you ever find yourself in Alaska, the best place to see these birds is on a boat trip into Kenai Fjords ... and even better, at the AK Wildlife Center in Seward. They are hilarious looking birds.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had to look up baby puffin also. While I was doing so I looked for what you call a group of puffins. I like the group names for animals but the one for puffins is not so good - a 'gathering' of puffins. Some way that just does not seem right!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your eagle eyes have now become puffin eyes. Wait, that doesn't sound good. Congrats on your sighting. I'd have been thrilled too. Too bad you didn't have much of an audience.

    Thanks for the info on the red spot on western gulls. Had no idea!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I cheated and Googled it. A baby Puffin is called a Puffling

    ReplyDelete
  16. As a taxpayer, I appreciate you taking such good care of government property. ;c) Glad you got to see the puffins. What? No YouTube video of your happy dance? :cD

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm glad the Puffins are running a little late in the season. . .Haystack Rock is listed as one of their nesting areas also. . .sure am hoping to see them there. . .

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fantastic Judy! I've never even seen those types of Puffins and thought all Puffins were North of the US. Sure hope you get to see as many as your commenter did. Great to see John and Bridget too. Yours is a seriously educational blog. Today I learned that there is such a thing as a Tufted Puffin, that puffin babies are called pufflings - ha what a name - and what the gull's red spot is. Bet pufflings are darlings!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love Puffins. We've seen them off the coast of Maine and off the coast of Oregon as well. So you know you're in a great spot if you're in Puffin Country!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yay, you saw a couple of Tufted Puffins! Doncha wish you had a way to get on the other side of the island? Jimmy and I saw several nesting colonies of Atlantic Puffins up close in Newfoundland, but we've been lucky enough to see some Pacific Puffins, too. I was one happy camper each time! Wish I had some in my back yard, but I guess I don't have enough water ....

    ReplyDelete
  21. We have been fortunate enough to see both puffins, the tufted and the Atlantic. We were given a tour of Petit Manaan in Maine where we held a PUFFLING!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Judy, have you visited the Sea Lion Caves...you would even have a chance of seeing them there along with razorbills and other neat things.

    ReplyDelete
  23. How's about calling them young 'Puffballs.'

    ReplyDelete
  24. Can you believe I've never seen a puffin? What kind of Newfie am I? It's on my wish list for our trip next month and now I know what babies are called so I can look smart!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

    ReplyDelete