Well, that title will sort readers by age and location. Pretty much what the wardens on the Farne Islands off the Northumbrian coast are doing to the Puffins. Not an easy task when the Puffins are nestling within their burrows, but these appealing birds seem pretty tolerant of the intrusion and are due our thanks. The 5-yearly counts provide long-term data on a changing population and the environmental changes that it reflects.
I'm trying to feel sorry for the plucky wardens risking nasty nips from those psychedelic beaks, but the thought of their breezy vantage point looking back towards the Northumbrian coastline, with the wind in their hair, a packet of sandwiches and flask of coffee in their pockets and lovely data piling up to play with until summer.... its not quite working.
My mind is also playing tricks... pulling birds from their hiding places, checking their weight and condition, putting a ring on them and disappearing for another five years.... is this story really based on the Farne Islands or in a Newcastle nightclub?
(Thanks to Nigel Homer for the puffin pic).