Charismatic and somewhat clownish, with a bizarre multicoloured beak, upright stance, and a waddling gait, the puffin is everyone’s favourite seabird. These irresistibly charming, pint-sized auks are easily identifiable, even to non-birdwatchers. But despite their popularity – and even though there are more than a million puffins breeding around the British Isles – few people have actually seen one.
At first glance, the fulmar looks superficially similar to a herring gull, with its grey wings and white underparts. But a closer inspection will reveal that it is a smaller bird, with a shorter, stubbier bill, and a dark smudge around the eyes. You also won’t catch the fulmar flying around coastal towns trying to steal chips because this is a very oceanic bird, spending most of its time far away from land.