Wildlife sightings 24 January 2013

Sightings from Maggie 

The Bass Rock: By this time in previous years gannets had been spotted offshore. No reports of any so far? On lovely calm days like today it’s a pleasure to spend a little time on the Scope Deck.

Off-shore about 25 common scoter seen flying west and 11 greylags flew off the Lamb. Eiders are gathering, shags forming large rafts on the sea. Auks and black headed gulls with the beginnings of their summer plumage showing, and peregrines are being seen on most of the islands.

Fidra: Having been out there today I saw evidence of a peregrine kill. On returning to the Centre it was spotted sitting at one of its view points quite contented! Over 40 fulmars at nest sites, or gliding along the cliff tops. Having a little time we checked around most of the island for any shag corpses.

I mentioned the shag wreck a few weeks ago. Researchers from the CEH (Centre of Ecology and Hydrology) have been interested to hear of any found along the shore. In general it would appear the shags came into roost at night and died at their sites many through starvation, so they’re not always being found along the straddle line. Please tell us about any ringed/darvicks.

Isle of May CEH are out at the moment logging returning shags, checking all the nooks and crannies for dead ones and importantly those that have not yet returned. It’s interesting, the first two weeks of the new year simmers quietly. Suddenly by the third week the reality of the season kicks in, from maintenance to pre-season surveys, timetables to summer events. Emails start flowing. Just a few more weeks!!

RSPB: 26/27 Jan The annual ‘Big Garden Bird Watch’ is this coming weekend. Fill the feeders, scatter some food, pour yourself a cuppa and note all the birds that visit your garden during a one hour spell. How enjoyable is that! From there send it into the RSPB online or by post. If you study some of the graphs from previous years, it shows the changes and fluctuations of species and of numbers. Severe winters affected many of our common garden species a couple of years ago, but it can also bring surprises showing subtle changes in the movement of birds. If you do not have a garden, the local park or woods will benefit from recording too!

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