Friday, 2 March 2012

Getting Going

The island looking blasted, brown and quiet.

Loading the boat

The guillis are back.

At first this odd looking razorbill looks like it has an invisible head or has been doing some painting and decorating but is acutally moulting its winter plummage out and hasn't quite got its full breeding feathers.

Shags and guillimots prospecting nest ledges, note the 2 beautifully marked bridled guillimots.

One of the first jobs will be to right Evelyn's purple hide.

The island may look dead but seedlings and shoots are sprinking up everywhere and after the mild winter things will green up fast.
Well this is it, the human side of the Isle of May operation is getting going, blog included. We started the opening up process for the island on monday with a trip out at the begiining of the week. The main purpose was to get the water engineer out there so that he could start the process of cleaning through the system but it gave a chance to see how things were progressing on the island. As usual we look at things from a human personal perspective and for us it is the start but for the island and some of its wildlife things are already up and running. There were lots of guillemots back on the cliffs grabbing their nesting ledges and looking for their partners. It is so long since I had seen them on the cliffs (end of June) that it was a real but pleasent surprise to see the ledges rippling black and white and hear their braying. Fewer razorbills were back, some still with winter plumage. The shags were a mixed lot, a few early starters were nest building but many obviously hadn't put any thought into breeding yet.  The island itself looked bleached and brown as we approached but up close amongst the churned up mud from the seals were seedlings and grass poking through ready to change the colour of the island like a chameleon from brown to green.
For the next month we will be making day trips and short stays to get work done on the infrastructure with the plan of going out to stay at the end of March. This will mean lots of boat trips too and from the island in a windy time of year so I hope the weather is kind on us. There is only a certain number of times you want to have to step ashore at Anstruther with a salty face and wet underpants.

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