Whipped by salt heavy winds,
the photographer pulls their coat collar tight
and crouches low,
an unimportant, moss-covered rock
with raw cheeks.
Camera gripped in restless fingers,
eyes trained on the puffin colony
hard at fishing.
Sizing great, subject clear – but
colourful bill obscured,
clumps of grass
urged into frame by blasts of ice.
Which unlucky species
did this individual catch?
Speculation is fruitless,
mere guesswork never equals
Back to the trusty tool of trade;
Incoming at two o’clock.
Ready for your close-up, eager one?
Steady. Steady. Click shutter…
Head perfectly centred,
silver dripping from its bill
in the shape of sand eels;
for lively chicks.
Another fine slice of research
ready for analysing.
Citizen science at its finest.
This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!
The subject of this poem was inspired by Project Puffin, a citizen science project organised by the RSPB to gather data on what foods puffins feed their young and how these have changed over time, in order to determine whether lack of food is one of the reasons behind the steep decline in puffin numbers. Click here to find out more.
[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]