Blair - one of our Date With Nature assistants at Sumburgh Head - called me this morning saying that the Puffincam egg was starting to hatch. How eggciting! There goes my productive day off in the garden :)
Both parents - we call them Tammy and Norie after the local name for puffins - have been in the burrow today. As I write this blog post, the incubating bird is shuffling around a bit, checking the egg, tossing its head side to side and up and down, and pottering with nest material... I've had just a glimpse of the egg and saw a small hole. It's almost painful waiting to see what happens, particularly after the 2011 chick didn't survive hatching.
There's a couple of differences to last year in our Puffincam burrow. In 2011, the egg was quite often left, but this year it's been incubated the whole time (except when Tammy or Norie need to step outside to the loo). Last year and in 2010, there was significantly less nest material - this year it looks right cosy.
You can follow Puffincam at http://www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature/245688-shetlands-summer-spectacle - this gives you more details about how to get to Sumburgh Head and when staff are on-site with telescopes to help you get the most out of your visit (thanks to VIking Optics for the loan of telescopes!). Our super partners at Promote Shetland have Puffincam at www.shetland.org/puffincam. They've set up a Twitter feed, so if you are into Tweeting, use #puffincam if you've anything you'd like to say.
Just had a text from a local man, Maurice Henderson, saying the egg has hatched -woooohoooooo!!! I missed it as I was taking too long to type this blog. Woops!
Congratulations Tammy & Norie - Wishing you all the best in the weeks ahead raising your peerie puffling.
I'll get a quick conservation message in here... Seabirds really are struggling to survive. This is in part due to us humans. We can all help puffins and other seabirds through doing more to tackle climate change, encouraging governments, industries and individuals to manage the marine environment better, volunteering on beach cleans, sharing nature with children... there's lots of simple little steps that can be taken to make a big difference. Check out the rest of our website to find out how to Step Up For Nature. Go on -it'll give you a warm fuzzy feeling!!
Now, where's that bottle of bubbly I've been saving....?!