Wildlife sightings 12 October 2012

From the archives:
Sightings – week up to 16 October 2008

What an exciting week: the first seal pups have been seen; gannets are leaving; dolphins were filmed from the Fidra camera and a rabbit was found on Craigleith!

Today we could have repeated the above article from the Bulletin in 2008.Yes an exciting week!

Dolphins: Whether from the Seafari Boat, on camera in the Discovery Centre, the viewing deck or café you could not avoid being caught up in the excitement as a pod of 20/25 of bottlenose dolphins were spotted feeding close to Craigleith on Wednesday.

Last Sunday, a beautiful calm day, we commented on the feeding frenzy by many of the gulls was an indication that there were large shoals of something. Quite often it’s worth scanning around as cetaceans may also be following the shoal. Later that day there was a brief sighting of a cow and calf from the Seafari Island Cruise. On Monday a report came in of a pod seen on Sunday, east of St Baldred’s Boat.

Passengers on the Seafari boat had enjoyed seal spotting and looking for the down-covered gannet flanked by two gugas on the pinnacle close to the cave on the Bass. I had mentioned about the earlier dolphin sightings. Conditions were perfect for a sea-watching day, I always say ‘keep scanning you never know!!’ I ignored my phone ringing but answered the 3rd call in close succession, I felt it may be urgent….David one of our guides and a masher excitedly blurted: “20+ dolphins east of the Craig‘’.

We were some distance away but headed in the direction, 14 pairs of eyes scanning. Way ahead I spotted the splashing. Speed now reduced we drifted slowly. Before we knew it the boat was surrounded. They weren’t paying attention to us. They were feeding and we witnessed the most amazing spectacle as they came within a metre of the boat. I alerted the Centre – to the delight of not just visitors but staff too.
Unfortunately tide and the fact the volunteers were waiting to be collected brought this amazing trip to a close.

I called Eric Hoyt (WDCS) and it’s hoped with photographs taken by our passengers and recording from Stuart Pearson this pod may be identified. I will keep you updated on that.

Bass: I didn’t need binoculars to see that the Rock is almost empty, but panning around with the cameras you spot the odd down-covered chick, gugas wing flapping and still the occasional adult with nesting material. Keep a watch on the ‘home alone’ chicks. The parents will return to feed. How often and what time of day? All interesting to watch for, and monitor.

Isle of May: At least ten seal pups have now been born. We watched one that must have been born early morning. It still had that scrawny straggly appearance of a newborn. The tide had turned and the odd wave splashed over it. It appeared unperturbed, perhaps enjoying it. A firm nudge from the cow close by was enough to make the pup turn. The cow sat broadside for a few minutes. We were unsure if she was the mother, but she moved in front and again a little nudge, moved higher up the boulder beach stopping to check the pup was following. It’s these moments that are such fun to watch. What was a little boulder for the mother to slither over was a mountain for the tiny pup. Like a caterpillar it slithered and wriggled its way over the boulders until safety was reached. The season has just begun.

Craigleith: Back to the 2008 sightings when ‘a rabbit!’ was spotted on Craigleith. These little bunnies are still there, with passengers always amazed when they spot them scuttling around. It is still unknown quite how they were re-introduced but they are doing a great job nibbling, particularly in the winter when other vegetation dies back and those mallow seeds just keep sprouting!

We are in the week now where the first pup may be born on the Craig so keep a close watch and note the activity on and off the island.

Fidra: The peregrine has been seen recently at its view points and on the lighthouse. Craigleith also has regular sightings.

Guillemots: No new reports this week, but we’re still seeing many rafts offshore and at Aberlady on Tuesday pinkfoot count over 9,000.





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