Thousands of Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctic) breed on the cliffs of Skomer Island, Wales, United Kingdom. A lot of puffins are bonding on the nesting site. The couple had been living apart for nine months at sea before they met again. The meeting can be emotional: they tick their beaks against one another, sit and stay still with their heads against each other, and seem almost humanlike in greeting their mate.
Seeing the puffins busy fishing, nesting, grooming, and resting is stunning. Intruders will be met with loud, grumpy noises. Also, a display of opening and closing one's beak over and over again is an act of marking territory as a nesting ground. I even saw them fight gruesomely. When the golden light of the evening set in, it was magical! All was aglow with the last rays of the Sun.
I stayed together with photography friends on Skomer Island for 3.5 days. We had to leave earlier than expected due to a massive storm coming in within hours. On Skomer, you must provide for yourself, taking food and provisions. We might get stuck there for a week if we hadn't left – risking losing out on drinks and food. This was a hard choice because the island is overwhelming in the most wonderful way imaginable. I still relive it sometimes when I look at the images that have gone with me on that boat back to the mainland.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor