The waters around Lundy Island today became the first marine conservation zone in England as part of a project to create a network of protected areas. The Guardian
Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel, and lies 19 km off the coast of Devon. The number of puffins on the island which may have given the island its name, declined in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with the 2005 breeding population estimated to be only two or three pairs, as a consequence of depredations by brown and black rats (Rattus rattus) (which have now been eliminated) and possibly also as a result of commercial fishing for sand eels, the puffins’ principal prey. Since 2005, the breeding numbers have been slowly increasing. Adults were seen taking fish into four burrows in 2007, and six burrows in 2008. More on Wikipedia
Puffins have has begun their annual migration from Wales to the North Atlantic Ocean after a “record breeding season”. Thousands of birds began leaving Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire last weekend. Skomer is currently home to more than 13,500 puffins – up from 10,000 last year. It is thought puffins, unlike at other sites in the UK, the birds may be doing well because of increased numbers of sandeels. The Daily Telegraph
I wonder if their numbers are being bolstered by refugees from the dwindling Scottish colonies in search of sandeels.
Puffins live to a remarkable age. Scientists on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland have found the two oldest puffins in Europe. They caught Puffin number EB73152, originally ringed on 28 June 1975. At an amazing age of at least 34 years old this bird is now the oldest recorded Puffin in Europe. Birdwatch
Scientists are fitting puffins with hi-tech tracking tags to try and understand why the number of puffins on the Farne Islands, one of the most important colonies in Britain, has mysteriously dropped by some 30%. Puffin numbers are down from 55,674 in 2003 to 36,500. The Farne Islands are home to the largest puffin colony in England.