July heralds the arrival of drift netting boats being seen in Druridge Bay....and the arrival of dead puffins on the beach.
Drift netters fish from cobles, usualy seen at dawn, they use nets that aren't attached to the boats, they are 'set' then left to drift and collected back in later with their catch of salmon, sea trout........and puffins.
Unfortunatly puffins are a bycatch of this type of fishiong, the birds, diving for sand eels, become trapped in the nets and drown. The young that they are feeding on nearby Coquet are also likely to die of starvation if one of the parents die. I counted 13 dead puffins on 1km of beach dead, all fresh corpses.
Every July and August for as long as I can remember I have seen dead puffins on the beach at this time of year, previously healthy birds, an unfortunate bycatch of this type of fishing.
A few hours later the first corpses arrive on the beach. If you do come across any whilst out walking, turn them over to check if they ringed.