Spectacular footage shows a ‘vortex’ of 7,500 puffins arriving on Skokholm island off Wales in minutes – the highest number since the 1950s
- More than 7,500 puffins arrived at Stokholm island off Pembrokeshire in minutes
- It is the highest number of the tiny birds recorded in March since the 1950s
- A spokesperson for The Wildlife Trust confirmed there were over 7,500 of them
- There were also over 5,000 at Skomer and they’ve landed the earliest date they’ve braved the shores in 90 years
A tiny British island has witnessed a rare natural phenomenon – a vortex of thousands of tiny puffins.
Skokholm island off Pembrokeshire had the awe-inspiring sight of more than 7,000 puffins arriving at the island in just minutes – the highest number ever recorded in March.
The little birds were joined by other arrivals including thousands of Auks.
A spokesman for Skokholm Island said on Tuesday: ‘Over 7,300 Puffins today including our first ashore.
‘Highest March count since the 1950s.
‘This afternoon’s spectacular Puffin vortex resulted in their earliest landfall in 90 years of recording on Skokholm.’
The on Wednesday they added: ‘The puffins came in with a bang yesterday so we walked the whole coastline and counted them.
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Skokholm island off Pembrokeshire had the awe-inspiring sight of more than 7,000 puffins arriving at the island in just minutes – the highest number ever recorded in March
‘A mighty 7,447 were rafting just below the cliffs; an amazing count and the highest March count ever.
‘They also made first landfall-the earliest date they’ve dared to brave our shores in 90 years of recording.’
A spokesperson for The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales which manages Skokholm and Skomer islands confirmed that by Tuesday there were over 7,500 at Skokholm and over 5,000 at Skomer.
‘This is the earliest they have landed in 90 years.
‘In peak season we expect around 8,000 at a time so these numbers are proving very exciting for this years arrivals.
‘The highest figures we’ve had over the islands is 30,000.’
Puffin originally meant fatling. In the last half of the 1800’s the puffin was given the scientific name of Fratercula arctica, which means ‘little brother of the north’ in Latin.
Little brother may also be interpreted as ‘little friar’ an allusion to the puffin’s black and white plumage which is reminiscent of a friar’s robes.
Puffin originally meant fatling. In the last half of the 1800’s the puffin was given the scientific name of Fratercula arctica, which means ‘little brother of the north’ in Latin (stock image)
Lttle brother may also be interpreted as ‘little friar’ an allusion to the puffin’s black and white plumage which is reminiscent of a friar’s robes (stock image)
A second connotation of little friar may be drawn from the puffin’s sometime habit of holding it’s feet together when taking off, suggestive of hands clasped together in prayer.
Regardless of the scientific name, local names still abound. These include such colourful names as ‘clown of the ocean’ and ‘sea parrot.’
People used to claim that a puffin was actually a cross between a bird and a fish because of its superb ability to swim underwater.
This allowed some people to eat puffin meat on lent and Fridays to avoid the prohibition of meat by the Catholic Church on these days.
People used to claim that a puffin was actually a cross between a bird and a fish because of its superb ability to swim underwater (stock image)
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