Wildlife sightings 23 March 2017

What’s on the Seabird Centre cameras from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

230317 la bass rock

The gannets are back! There are still lots of gannets to return, however, there is a lot of courtship behaviour to be seen on the cameras such as beak fencing and bowing (territorial).

The peregrines continue to be spotted on Fidra and Craigleith but no sightings of the peregrines on the Bass as of yet. Fulmars, cormorants and shags continue with their own nest preparations especially on the Isle of May. The ringed shags have been very busy arguing with some pair swapping and intruders on ‘Charlie’s’ nest this past week.

Guillemots and a few razorbills are becoming more established on some of the other islands such as Fidra and Craigleith, while the main stack on the Isle of May is full!

Keep up-to-date with what’s on camera HERE.

Wildlife sightings 16 March 2017

Wildlife sightings from the Discovery Centre cameras – Helen

Last week we had wonderful displays from the male cormorants flicking their wings and showing their white flanks. It’s all paid off, as they now have females joining them on the nests!

On Fidra and Isle of May the shags are nest-building and squabbling, and treating us to some beautiful courtship as they move their heads in unison. The main fish tank is looking great with its new seaweed. And we have a ‘teenage’ seal on Isle of May, sunbathing on its back – that’s the life!

Puffins– Maggie

Puffins are back! A few were spotted offshore from Craigleith. On the same day, a similar story on the seas around the May. When will the first one be spotted on land? Another recent return are the lesser black backed gulls near the yachting pond. Among the turnstones and redshanks, I spotted a couple of dunlin and the black redstart was still around last week. 40+ eider’s rafting close by their unmistakable ooOOOoo filling the air. Such an evocative sound.

On the Bass last week thousands of gannets, several dozen sitting around the chapel area. It’s always interesting to see which birds, particularly in the study areas, have returned. No sign on any darvick birds but couple of fresh deposits of seaweed as the rebuilding of nests begins.  They were all very jumpy. By Easter week the first egg may appear! It is hoped this year that some early season study may be undertaken. Will keep you updated on that. Interestingly no fulmars on site, a few swooping around but from a visit a few weeks ago, where there were several dozen sitting; it does show nothing is really settled at this time of year, but soon!

I would expect we will hear of first shag eggs before long. When out on the May a couple of weeks ago, it was interesting, some mornings none were on site but by afternoon token nesting material was being brought in. By the time I left they were in attendance for most of the day. Of course, all breakfast viewing on the webcams!  One incredibly calm morning as I headed to the cliff area the AAhaar of the guillemots just reverberated around. How can you not smile! It is such a summer sound. I headed over to the cliffs to just sit and observe a while. Thousands of birds tightly packed on every ledge, razorbills in their hundreds perched on the nooks and crannies. As I sat lower down by one of he hides if I stretched out my arm I probably could have touched the dozens of razorbills that flew directly over my head. What a magical way to start the day!  The next morning only a handful of both species.  A couple of days later I heard kittiwakes.  Apart from the odd lazy young seal that just slept all day, the salt burnt vegetation is perfect camouflage for the hundreds of rabbits. As you walk along suddenly a sea of white flashes as little bob tails scatter. As green shoots push through and puffins return, the season is on the cusp.

 

Wildlife sightings 9 March 2017

Sightings from the Discovery Centre team – Helen

Isle of May

We’ve had the most wonderful displays from the cormorants today – three in a row on Craigleith – heads back, wings flapping, white patches flashing. They don’t seem to have impressed the ladies yet though. Eiders have also been displaying in the area. Charlie, the shag on the Isle of May, has extended his nest and has been sitting there regularly. Shags and fulmars cover Fidra, with a fair bit of squabbling.

The peregrines have been on Craigleith almost all day every day. Guillemots cover the stacks on the Isle of May every morning but disappear just as we unlock the doors to the public!

Wildlife sightings 2 March 2017

What’s on the Discovery Centre cameras
From the Discovery Centre team – Helen

030317-la-fidra

Fidra camera

The cormorants have started nest-building on Craigleith. Their breeding plumage – white patches on their flanks – is clearly visible on camera and by telescope. The shags are busy on Fidra and the Isle of May settling down on their nests – Charlie is back at his usual site but with a new mate, not ringed unfortunately so we won’t be able to recognise her.

Fulmars, gulls and eider ducks are everywhere. The male and female peregrines sat together for hours on Craigleith, while their daughter has been on Fidra.

 

Wildlife sightings 23 February 2017

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Helen

Fulmars on Fidra

Fulmars on Fidra

Excitement is building as we approach gannet season! There have been sightings of over a thousand gannets flying around the Bass but they’re still teasing us and not landing.

Shags are starting to build their nests and courtship begins. Charlie (a ringed shag) has reclaimed his nest on the Isle of May and defending it against various would-be intruders.

The cormorants have their breeding plumage with the white flanks on display. Fulmars are nestling in the grass on their nest sites – we’ve got great views of them on Fidra.

The peregrines have been delighting our visitors with regular appearances on both Fidra and Craigleith. And the rabbit is back on Craigleith – we keep seeing him in the same spot. Despite the weather, spring is on the way!

Wildlife sightings 16 February 2017

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

Despite the busy week with half term it has been very quiet on the cameras. Birds such as the guillemots, shags and cormorants are now spending more time out to sea than preparing and building nests. Fulmars are still in the little crevices and sheltered burrows. The peregrines continue to be very active this past week with sightings again on both Fidra and Craigleith respectively. The gannets continue to be elusive on the cameras with some individuals being spotted circling around the Bass, but no landings yet.

We have been seeing lots of grey seals return to the May over the past few weeks and on Monday saw a large group of approx. 15 seals on the beach. They continued to rest and slumber in the sun on the beach up until Wednesday (today, no power on island). Visitors have been really interested to see them, especially our regular visitors who can see pups return as adolescents.

Wildlife sightings 9 February 2017

150217-la-craigleith

Wildlife sightings from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

The gannets have….NOT landed! At least not yet. On Saturday, a small group of gannets, approx. six, were spotted on the camera flying above the lighthouse area. Since then there have been no other sightings. So, we know they are out there and have returned, but we are yet to see the first gannet land on the Rock.

Another notable return this week was of a group of 13 grey seals, most of them returning juveniles from last season, on the Isle of May. It was great to see so many hauled out and resting on the rocky beach. Today we only have one remaining seal, but many of that large group may still be around the island.

Nesting preparations continue for the shags and cormorants though they are not being spotted on the camera as frequently as they were a few weeks ago. Charlie and Lola continue to be seen, however, on the May with many of our regular visitors interested in being updated on their nest progress. Guillemots continue to gather on the stacks on the May as well as the lower ledges on Fidra and Craigleith respectively.

The peregrines continue to be seen on Fidra, Craigleith as well as the Bass lighthouse. Evidence of kills continues to be spotted, though we haven’t been able to observe any live feeding behaviour just yet.