Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Operation Deep Clean

Loading the boat, note Maggie's leopard skin bag - very Isle of May.
Coming into the harbour.

Isle of May lighthouses.

The tracks are greening up

Leaving the island
The task was Operation Deep Clean, the operative was Maggie. And so we set off to the island with various cleaning products and a carpet cleaner. Though we all take a turn in cleaning the lighthouse keepers cottages that we live in during  the busy field season it can be difficult to get into those hidden corners. So each year Maggie heads over to clean them through at the beginning of the season and this year word came down from above that a deep clean was needed, this called for a carpet cleaner. Maggie is one of the many unsung Isle of May heroes that does so much for the island. She knows it well as during the summer she is one of the main guides who takes visitors from the Seabird Centre around the island but relishes the chance to be on the island when no visitors are about.
It was a glorious morning and the island was quieter than last time. The guillemots were absent, at the beginning of the season they come onto the island for a few days at a time and go back out to the sea, gradually spending more and more time on the island. The gulls were gradually taking ownership of their colonies, herring gulls in their pristine breeding whites and even one or two lesser black backed gulls, recently returned from their wintering grounds in Spain. I got in a quick walk round and surprised a few more unusual visitors, a big female sparrowhawk in the Top Garden, a short-eared owl down buy the Lowlight and a woodcock along Holymans. And then I had to head back to the mainland, with the island sun-kissed, tranquil, golden and blue it was a wrench.  I might get to stay a couple of nights next week but my time for staying proper won't be for another 3 weeks.

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