Monday, 1 July 2013

Peak season in seabird city

It is peak season on the island for seabirds.So if you are planning your visit to see all the species of seabirds then the next few weeks will be the best. But I should add that as the season started late this year there is a good chance that many birds will be on the island for longer and if the sand eels stay around we could have puffins well into August, but we will have to wait and see. So here is a bit of an update of how the various birds are doing.

There are still one or two female eiders on nests including one right behind our cottage but most have know hatched and taken their ducklings away to the Fife coast to feed them up. A few females, either failed or non-breeders, are hanging around the island in small girl groups.

The guillemots have been busy bringing in sprats to feed chicks and the first chicks are just starting to leave the cliffs but the majority are still on the ledges.

 The razorbills have been very late this year, even later than the guillemots so all are still on the cliffs tucked away in crevices. It has been blustery the last couple of days so the razorbills have been enjoying the up drafts on the cliffs and flying almost like a proper bird.

The kittiwakes are very evident on the cliffs but for many they don't seem to be doing much. There are some on eggs and a few with chicks like this one but many are not having a good year.

The puffins are in full flow bringing fish back to feed chicks so if it is puffins with a beak full of sand eels that you want to see then the Isle of May is the place to come.

As usual the fulmars go under the radar with many visitors not noticing them as they tuck down in amongst their noisy neighbours. They are later breeders so we don't yet have that much idea of how they are doing  but numbers of pairs seem to be down.

And last but not least the shags are definitely down in numbers but those birds who survived the winter and have come to the island to breed are now mostly feeding chicks while a few are still on eggs. There are some mighty thumpers of chicks to be seen from the paths as you go round.

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