Wildlife sightings 7 September 2012

Sightings by Maggie

Bass Rock: The seasonal, heart-warming ‘YIP.YIP’ fills the air as Seabird Seafari carefully manoeuvres around the dozens of flightless gugas now on the sea. Even when you are some distance from them, they panic a little, first heading straight for the boat, quickly realising this is not the answer, turning quickly, wings flapping at a tilt as they desperately try to take flight.

The moment passes and they swim off, head at times shaking, as if we had invaded their space, which in many ways we have. You then spot the odd one flying, not as proficient as the adults and we watch. Will it keep airborne?

As they head into the distance you know that one will probably survive. The strong wind aided many the other day. We saw several take flight, only to crash land a few meters on. A family who had witnessed much of this on camera really enjoyed the trip as they hadn’t quite understood the behaviour they had seen.

Unfortunately with high tides and strong westerly winds two young chicks have been washed off the lower site near the cave, both under eight wks. One of them on a couple of occasions had been alone. There are another couple of young ones slightly higher up, so here’s hoping they survive.

Bailee and Paul on a quick camera visit managed to free many that were trapped and put a ramp in place. Not the original one, so keep a watch, hopefully they will use it. Bailee, once home (to Canada) is going to send us a piece on her visit as it was her last day and she hadn’t been on the Bass when they were breeding.

Craigleith: Fairly quiet now but look out for fulmars gliding along the cliffs. A peregrine was seen, and the cormorant and shags are still around. Start to watch for seals now only a few weeks from the beginning of the breeding season!

Isle of May: Lighthouse Day was wonderful! All three lighthouses were opened to visitors. Many climbed the impressive circular staircase, through the small doorway in the oak panelled partition and up the ladder to meet Duncan from the NLB, who showed them the workings of the lamp.

Others enjoyed walking around the turret with its magnificent 360 views. For me, as I stood in front of the fireplace the daylight from the opened door revealing the curved ceiling, I thought back to the Anderson family who lived and worked in this the first coal fired Beacon in Scotland (built in 1636) and the tragedy that beset them. However, it was the engine room that was fascinating.

Although I have been in there many times, generally in torchlight as we tried to sort out the generator (it’s more reliable now!). You enter a world from the past. From gauges to giant spanners (and I mean giant!) to old signs and photos of those that lived a kept that magnificent lighthouse that we see from North Berwick working. It really was a venture into the past of ‘the Engine Room‘.

Local sightings: The first pinkfoot geese have arrived at Aberlady (32 on Wednesday 5 September) and approx 40 were heard passing over North Berwick yesterday, and on the May a flock of 25 tree sparrows, a juv greater spotted woodpecker (the first in 11 years) 2000+ meadow pipits passing over along with buzzard, peregrine and sparrow hawk.

Thanks to all at Lothian Bird News and Isle of May blog.

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