Tuesday, 15 May 2012

This week - a lumpsucker, wryneck, moths and more.

Apologies for the lack of news over the last few days, I have had internet connection problems, but it seems to be running now for the time being, all part of island living. I have therefore put together snippets of what has been happening over the last few days in one giant posting.

We caught a wryneck. These are the most amazing birds and having never seen one before I thought Christmas had come early. They are a type of woodpecker that have evolved a plumage that makes it look like lichen encrusted bark. Unfortunately they are virtually extinct as a breeding bird in the UK and are only seen on migration.The Isle of May is an excellent place to see them as they have been recorded passing through on 18 out of the last 22 years.
Some people were still having breakfast when the call went up to come and see the wryneck.
A wryneck livens up the sightings board for the day.
Paula ran down to grab what she thought was a dead puffin being eaten by 2 greater black-backed gulls (we need freshly dead ones for samples) only to discover it was this, a lumpsucker. A strange looking fish with a bright orange sucker on its underside that lives in the rocky reefs around the island. Cool fish.
The moth season is disastrous this year. Only 2 species so far (but they are very nice). We just need a few warm days to bring them out.
A hebrew character

A marbled coronet.
With the terns back Paula and I have been busy putting up the ropes and signs that will keep the visitors a bit of distance from the terns. The terns are now very busy displaying, pairing up and starting to make scraps in preparation for eggs laying. Our volunteers from earlier in the season will be pleased to see that they are already using the nesting platforms that they built in hope at the beginning of the spring.
We had the first photography trip over from the Seabird Centre at North Berwick . 12 keen photographers came over on a lovely day and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the island and its seabirds. It was interesting to see what they wanted to photograph and how they viewed the island. One or two even took time to put down their cameras and just look around them. Not surprisingly the puffins took star billing.   

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