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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Puffin Watching in Elliston

Just a few kilometers from Bonavista is the little town of Elliston, root cellar capital of the world and where you can see puffins without having to pay for a boat tour.

When you go in to town just stop at the visitor center and ask the way, if you're looking for a puffin related gift this is also the place to go!  I bought a jar of jam, of course. Near the visitor center is the whaler memorial and we got a view of what I think is some Cormorants on a nearby rock outcrop.

 From highway 238 you should be able to access Sandy Cove Road which turns in to Maberly Road.

Not being too interested in root cellars we parked along the side of the road and made our way to the puffin viewing site.  Access is free but donations are accepted.

It's just a short walk, maybe a quarter mile out to the end where the birds are on a smaller rock island about 100 feet away.

There is also another island behind that one that was teeming with birds.

It was a foggy day so lighting was not ideal for longer distance shots of birds in motion, but I didn't do too badly and had fun lying on the ground hand holding the Canon EF 100-400mm lens that I brought along to try out specifically for this outing.  However, this shot below I took using my Canon EFS 55-250 and was very pleased with it.

I also installed Adobe Lightroom (finally) on my laptop yesterday morning and fooled around with it a little bit.  What do you think, the shot above with the standard Windows Photos basic editing tools or the one below done with Lightroom?

Here's another shot of them all lining up for take-off.  I got the Lightroom as part of a 30 day trial.  It has a few more adjustments than the Photos software but I'll have to work with it some more to see how I feel about it.

The next 8 shots were all done using the ultra-zoom lens which is the $2200 updated version that is supposed to be easy to use hand held.  At a little over 3.5 pounds I found I had to stabilize it a little bit by putting my elbows down on the ground, mostly between shots.

How about a side by side comparison of the software editing?  The second photo is done with Lightroom.

Puffins establish burrows on grassy cliffs or nest amongst rocks. Male Puffins perform most of the work of clearing out the nest area, which is sometimes lined with grass, feathers or seaweed.  On this shot I really noticed a difference in what the software could do.

The only time Puffins spend on land is to nest which is about five months per year. Mates are found prior to arriving at the colonies, and mating takes place at sea.

At fledging, the chick leaves the burrow alone, and flies/swims out to sea, usually during the evening. Contrary to popular belief, young puffins are not abandoned by their parents.

The average Puffin lives about 20 years., which is a long time to be putting up with gulls as your neighbors in my opinion.

They were a lot of fun to watch, especially when they poked up out of their burrows, and I even got a shot of one scratching his head.

Puffins make their home in Elliston from May through September, so stop on by to check them out.

If you stay long enough maybe you can be around to pick some of the partridge berries.

If you stay too long they even have a place for you to rest!


  1. Nice shots of the puffins! Great action captures of them in flight too.

  2. Your puffins are easier to see that the ones on the Oregon coast. I like that chair. :)

  3. That ultra-zoom lens is amazing! I vote for the Lightroom pix in your comparisons. I'm still learning how to use it, but I like it.

  4. The puffin are so darn cute! Lightroom really made a difference for the better. Great chair!

  5. OMG! Puffins! My favorite. You got some fantastic shots, for sure, with or without Lightroom.

  6. OMG! Puffins! My favorite. You got some fantastic shots, for sure, with or without Lightroom.

  7. OMG! Puffins! My favorite. You got some fantastic shots, for sure, with or without Lightroom.

  8. Love the puffins! Haha ... root cellar capital of the world! (been there, done that) Wish I'd been there with you to see the puffins again.