The Fish Cliff Clue

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When John Pahl and I were sailing around Iceland, we noticed that you could use the puffins to indicate the direction of land very reliably, even in thick fog.

Trains of puffins flying in one direction always indicated a line from sea to land or vice versa. The wind direction cleared up any mystery as to which one.

My thanks to Prof. Otta Wenskus for letting me know another puffin-related clue, and it’s quite a fun and bizarre one:

“Another fun thing I learned in Iceland and which you probably know already: if you find tiny fishes, usually more than one, on a mountain you must be close to a puffin colony and, therefore, to a cliff jutting into the sea, so be extra careful. Puffins like to transport several fishes at once in their beaks and often lose some on their way to their nest.”

No, I did not know that, but it makes perfect sense, thank you.

The fish they are catching are sand eels, you can see them in the puffin’s beak above.


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