The steep cliffs of Latrabjarg were shrouded in mystery and fog this morning that cleared just as we started our navigation along this place of avian plentitude. Literally millions of birds gather at these cliffs in the spring to lay an egg, incubate it, hatch it, and hopefully fledge a chick. Some of the adaptations for this are a bit dramatic, such as the 15-day-old common murre chick engaging in cliff-jumping escapades. Apparently, it is an adaptation that works, and we had the privilege of seeing an adult male paddling alongside its still fluffy chick. The clarity and calm state of the sea allowed us to watch murres aquatically fly away underwater with a stream of air bubbles marking their pathway to the depths.
Terrestrially, we walked the quiet dirt roads of Flatey Island for a different viewpoint of the sea and land birds this afternoon. Donning rubber boots for our landing on the small sandy beach and copious amounts of sunscreen to keep us from burning on this warm and sunny day, we meandered amongst screeching terns, peeping phalaropes, and, at the cliff edge, the sound of chainsaws in unison with a cow’s moo: the call of the puffin!