National Geographic : 1952 Oct
Two cormorants, first cousins to those that nest on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, also arrived to feed. Big ugly fellows, in somber black and bronze and about three feet long, they also sought their food beneath 'the surface, using their powerful wings in breast stroke style. They ap peared, however, to prefer landing on the water be fore diving out of sight. Next came a shag, wear ing bottle-green. Almost as large as a cormorant and not unlike it in ap pearance, this bird is un known in North America (opposite). This one was seeking food for its mate nesting on Staple Island. When it opened its beak to scold us, a yellow lin ing was revealed. A second later, it was hissing indignantly at two minia ture buzz bombs which had dropped into the water near by. I recog nized these newcomers as puffins, or sea parrots, their heavy beaked heads 567 appearing too large for their small bodies. Swimmin By now our little ves- they keep h sel had reduced the 5- visitor risks mile gap to two, and the Fames, strung out and low in the each with a distinct slope to the noi loomed ahead like torpedoed ships goinl by the stern. As we closed on the Megstone, I ca heavy, obnoxious odor of decay. One two women passengers hastily sought fumed handkerchief, the other the gu Cormorants Gulp 15 Pounds of Fish The rocks of Megstone, where 300 p cormorants nest, were literally runnin lime wash and semidigested fish, fo mature cormorant gorges fish at the 15 to 16 pounds a day. Our skipper, glancing up from his winked, as did the veteran from B upon Tweed, who seemed inured t smell. Largely uninhabited since 1536 exc lighthouse keepers, the Fames, up to belonged to two families, one ownii Inner, the other the Outer group. I year it was decided that the birds J. allan uasn Man and Puffin Give Each Other the Eye g puffins form thousands of black dots covering the sea. Ashore, house in burrows, sometimes sharing them with rabbits. This Fame a severe bite from the sea parrot's oversized triangular beak. water, be protected. For decades, in the breeding rtheast, season, they had been ravaged by shooting g down parties coming in small vessels from the Tyne. Cruising slowly along the cliffs, men shot ught a nesting kittiwakes, guillemots, and other spe of the cies for sport. a per- The Bird Protection Act put an end to nwale! that, and later the Fames were bought through public subscription from the owners a Day and placed in custody of the National Trust pairs of in 1924. g with The sea birds on the islands today are among r each the tamest in Europe, and in great variety. rate of Here is the southern limit of the Arctic tern's breeding range and almost the northern paper, limit of the roseate tern. Berwick From May until the end of July, four bird o this watchers are employed to protect the birds of the Farnes, which mass on every pinnacle ept by and ledge and in every crevice and chasm 1923, on the larger islands. Some scarce land birds ng the also find odd corners for their nests: the rock n that pipit, wheatear, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, should ringed plover, and redshank.