Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Stunning, even with no seabird cities

                                            The empty cliffs with abandoned kittiwakes nests.

A visitor on Sunday brought my attention to the fact that the cliffs are still fantastic. I have been neglecting them a bit as the cliff nesting birds have finished their breeding season and have moved away, chicks and all. But today I spent some of the mornning and late evening up at Bishops Cove and by the South Horn and the visitor is right they are still brilliant. Cliffs have never been altered by man and so have a wonderful wildness that makes them good for the soul to sample. At this time of year they are wonderful places to just sit and soak up the spectacle. Of course there are no screaming, dynamic seabird cities but with them gone it brings to the fore the impressive architect and atmosphere of these great slabs of rock. The columns and caves, still patchy splashed with guano catch the light, and the sound of the waves crashing at their base. And there are still birds. The fulmars effortlessly patrol the cliff tops sweeping in at eye level to check you out..

Hanging in the wind,watching all below it was a male peregrine, we have had 3 peregrines around the island the last few days.

The gannets are still streaming past to and from Bass Rock, their breeding seasons last into November. 

Around the base of the cliffs a heron stalks, at least 2 have been hanging around the island this last week. And of course the seals find every lump of rock at the bottom of the cliffs to haul out for a sleep to digest their last meal. 

This evening the greater black-backed gulls were mooching around looking for food.  
 This time of year the gannets come in close after the fish giving spectacular views of their fishing dives, possibly one of the most spectacular hunting techniques in the animal kingdom.
 And to cap it all a minke whale was fishing, first sighted close to the Chatterstanes before it gradually made it way towards North Berwick.
Spending time by the cliffs on the Isle of May is a powerful experience, at anytime of year.

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