Every year thousands of puffins land on a select few islands and we have three short months to see them before they go out to sea again for the rest of the year.
We took our four children to the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland for their annual puffin pilgrimage.
There’s a storm brewing. The sea has turned a menacing petrol blue.
‘I’m sorry we have to cancel,’ says the captain. ‘You won’t enjoy it, there’s 47mph winds predicted. You don’t want to get thrown around on a boat out there.’
But that’s where he was wrong. My husband Stuart and my children don’t care about getting thrown around. They do care, however, about seeing the puffins.
The puffins have been elusive to us this year. We were in Scotland hoping to sail from Anstruther, in Fife, to the Isle Of May to visit them, but bad weather kept cancelling the boat.
Undeterred, we drove to Northumberland to try our luck in the Farne Islands, a seabird nirvana that we’d always intended to visit.
The rainforests of Trinidad and Tobago are an ornithologists dream. Take a trip deep into the jungle to catch a glimpse of the bird of eternal darkness.
By Julie Conway
Darlington Chance saunters towards us just before 7am. We are caught without time for breakfast as we hoped he would follow Tobagonian custom by arriving at least half an hour late. Darlington is Tobago’s only Rastafarian guide. Wearing shorts, battered, unfastened walking boots, but no socks, he is ready for our trek. Despite the rising temperature, he is carrying no water. He chuckles at our attire: long trousers tucked into heavy socks that suffocate our sweating, trussed up feet; shirts covering us from our necks to our wrists; and enough insect repellent to warn birds within ten kilometres that something with a strange tang of citronella is entering their territory.