Sightings – week ended 9 August 2013
From the Discovery Centre Cameras – Linda Forrest
Bird is the Word!
FIDRA: We have one, half-visible fulmar chick, partly hidden at different times, by a rock, a parent or fronds of long grass. But it’s very cute, seems to be in good health and is well–tended. We can also see a couple of puffins, and shag chicks, who look much older now, hanging about, especially at waters’ edge. Herring gulls abound.
BASS ROCK: Lots of gannets! The chicks are getting much bigger now, mostly still fat, white and fluffy, though some of them have brown plumage coming through.
CRAIGLEITH: A few puffins are still visible, along with herring gulls, and cormorants. Several large chicks flex their wings at cliff and water’s edge. A couple of black back gulls are also on view.
On the MAY, from the cameras, bird sightings seem to be limited mostly to shags and cormorants, as elsewhere, and there are perhaps a few puffins, here and there.
DUNBAR: We’re seeing kittiwakes with their maturing chicks. We’re also seeing lots of empty nests and, unfortunately, a couple of dead chicks.
From the boat – Maggie Sheddan
Bass gleaming! White down-covered chicks, heads swaying from side to side, bill pointing upward begging for food, immature birds, covering every available space, still flighty at times giving passengers a wonderful overhead display, adults preening, nest building, displaying, threats and disputes, and then a little head of a 12 day old chick pops up, still wobbly, bringing great excitement whether seen on camera or from the boat. This really is the height of season for the colony.
Yet another chick rescued. This one had obviously fallen out of a nest. Unable to climb back there is only one way it can go, downward. The attacks are relentless. The chick tucks its bill underneath the breast, often lying prone between nests but still the jabbing can continue. The one I found had obviously been attacked but now at the bottom of a drop, it was quite safe and still packed a good jab at me when I lifted it.
Another rescue was from the boat; watching two adults swimming abnormally close together, we saw the fishing line that entangled them. One adult gannet is bad enough but two tied together is a challenge. Young Colin is now sporting the bite he took as we tried to cut them free. What was so sad to see, and we were unable to do anything about, was the fishing hook trapped in the wing. This is the second report of entanglement of fishing line in as many days.
Craigleith and the May. Puffins, yes there are still some being seen although no question, the season is drawing to a close now.
Seals are popping up around both islands. Keep a watch at low tide.
Spend some time on the viewing deck now; you never know what you may spot!
(pic by Steve McDonald