I'll pop back on now and again to post a few leftovers and eventually a real goodbye--or maybe not so much goodbye as a real hello, in person--but for now, Five Pipers...Out.
In which the St. A's Pipers launch forth tidings from abroad, ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
Greet us in our Roll of Readers, and spin a comment back to us after any post, as often as you visit.
If Robin Robertson had ferried with A, M, O, and us from Anstruther to the Isle of May this week, his poem would have had less sea-fret--ours was a beautiful afternoon--and countless gannets, terns, razorbills, shags, and puffins to go with his kittiwakes, gulls, and fulmars.
As we disembarked, we were assailed by the shrieks, rasps, and squawks of ten-thousands of birds, almost drowning out the warnings of the ranger: Don't trouble the nesting fulmars, or they'll spit stinking fish oil in your face. Nesting terns will ferociously attack the head of the tallest thing threatening their nests, so do carry a stick over your head to fool them. And by all means, stay on the marked path so you don't crush the puffin eggs and chicks that are burrowed all over a few inches beneath the grass.
Puffins were the favorite, of course. An excited murmur passed around the ferry the first time someone spotted one bobbing off in front of us. Everyone from the three-year-olds, to the guys with the bazooka-sized cameras stood up a little taller to catch sight of them.
On the island, puffins squatted everywhere, round and alert. Their wings look too small for their bodies, like hummingbird wings carrying a melon along as they fly from the sea to their burrows and back. They do this in their hundreds, each always with a silver fish hanging from its beak (like in the center picture, just above). Click here for video of puffins, their sounds, and lots of other info.