Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bird News on the Isle of May

 Having been on the island for a couple of days I am starting to get a feel for what the different birds are up to. The guillemots and razorbills are starting to get established on their nesting ledges on the cliffs. First thing each morning the brays of the guillis can be heard. They mostly leave the cliffs and head out to sea by lunchtime but some are staying on the cliffs longer each day.
 With not some nay other birds on the cliffs the fulmars are the most obvious seabird. They are on the island in force doing their mad laugh calls continuously. The shags and puffins are few and far between at the moment and the kittiwakes are mostly off the island gathering on the sea.

 Though the cliffs are quiet the island itself is looking spectacular in the sun.It will not be many days before the ledges stay to fill and the noise builds (and the smell).

 Amongst the other birds on the island are a flock of lapwings. The flock had grown to about 50 today and round every corner was a lapwing. They are great fun to watch, especially like a few of the ones on the island they start calling their pewit calls and tumble around the sky in courtship. They are a declining species across the UK and they used to breed on the island but haven't done so since1986 but maybe like the swallows that returned last year after a long absence maybe they will have a go.
 Peregrines have been very obvious with 3 birds zooming around on Thursday. Here is one of the birds resting on the top of the cliffs.
 The stonechat is still around, making use here, of one of the lighthouse keeper's marker stone
A beautiful long-eared owl found roosting in the top garden. It was not pleased to be woken up.
Not birds but there are plenty of grey seals longing around the island. Many are going through their moults so are a patchy colour with the new coat showing where the old cost has come out. It is an itchy process as they seem to spend a lot of their time scratching with their flippers or rubbing themselves against the rocks like this one. 

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