I am lucky. I had the opportunity in 2006 to see Atlantic Puffins. That was a tremendously cool experience, and something I am not likely to forget. This blog existed back then, so you can check out what I had to say about those Atlantic Puffins. Don't get your hopes up for a story of interest, a pile of information or a dose of opinion. My writing style in this blog has evolved just a "tad" between 2006 and now. I look back and chuckle. That Atlantic Puffin post was so...sparse.
Now fast forward to our boat trip out of Seward. How do I compare my Atlantic Puffin experience to this one? Well, for starters, the trip out of Seward was a double-puffin-experience (DPE). That's right! There were two species of puffin to be seen in the waters south of Seward. How cool is that?
First up is the Tufted Puffin. Sure enough, they look like a puffin. That massive bill is pretty unmistakable. But this species has those interesting pale yellow plumes that drape back over their head like highly coiffed bits of hair. The first photo shows one with a single fish hanging out of his bill. They can carry nearly twenty small fish in their bill, all lined up side by side. The second photo catches a Tufted Puffin just about to take flight. He also has a fish, but it is hanging out of the opposite side of his bill.
And then there is the Horned Puffin. No, he does not have real horns. Their "horn" is the dark line that juts up above their eye. Their breast and belly are white, and their bill has a broad yellow section near the base.
Here is a final photo that has a Tufted Puffin and a Horned Puffin in the same frame. The Horned Puffin kept turning his back on me, but you can still make some comparisons between the two.