The day we arrived one of the most obvious island inhabitants were the woodcocks. These were pinging up from every wet gully and pool across the island. An estimated 50 + were there and our guess was that the snow on the mainland had driven them across the firth to one of the few places still unfrozen, wet and therefore full of food. We managed to trap one in the Heligoland trap and so Carrie ringed it. They are the most stunning of birds to see close up with an intricate brown pattern for camouflage to rival the female eiders.
Also on the island was a long-eared owl that Mark managed to trap for ringing. These birds look huge on the wing but in the hand they seem to shrink. This was a young female who had eyes that could clear a night club in Edinburgh.
Some birds come out to the island to stay the winter, a few blackbirds, robins and wrens but signs that others were on the move and using the island as a service station was the group of fieldfare that turned up on the second day and also 3 twite.
|Isle of May's first white-billed diver.|
So even in the dead of winter there are surprises to be found out there.