Saturday, 26 January 2013

Diggers, shags and snow

After waiting for a couple of days for the swell to drop a small group of us headed out to the island for a couple of nights. It was cold, very cold with a bitter east wind and the swell was still quite big and though there was no snow on the island either side of the Forth was well covered almost down to sea level.

Bass rock with a back drop of snow
   It was the first time I had seen the demolition works of the week before. It has to be said that the island isn't probably looking at  it s best at the moment what with the aftermath of the seals combined with the demolition works, the storm damage and the still on going building works at the Lowlight. However bearing it mind that 15 ton vehicles have been running about the place and a big building has been knocked down, crushed and disposed off the island could have looked a lot worse. But the whole place will be tidied up and looking a lot better in time for the first visitors at Easter. The seabird researchers were mainly over to count and identify roosting shags as part of the project to see where they go and what they do over winter. But they also checked the coast for dead birds that had succumbed during the period of rough weather. Shags find it difficult to feed in rough, windy weather so a prolonged period can cause them to starve. As many of the shags have coloured and coded rings on their legs if you find a shag on a shoreline this winter check it for rings and make a note of its code. You can then send it to SNH who will forward it to the right researchers.

The next morning we had a surprise as it had snowed in the night. Just a light sprinkle but enough to cover the worst of the mess and a rare sight on the Isle of May.

One of the dead shags with a covering of snow

The big swells of the winter have moved many landmarks of the island. This big plastic tank had sat on Rona 40 yards from the sea but has now been washed to a gully about 30 yards away. It is quite scary and hard to believe the size of the seas that would have done this.
 There are still plenty of seals around the island watching with interest the funny people slipping around on the rocks!.

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