Sightings – week ended 16 August 2013

Sightings from the Discovery Centre Cameras – Andy Dickson

Puffins have now said their farewells for the season with the sightings dropping off to such an extent that we have stopped our puffin talks in the DC.

Shag and cormorant chicks are about the size of the adults and are now much more mobile, venturing away from the nests.  Some have been seen in the water so their waterproof feathers are coming through well.

The kittiwakes in Dunbar still have their chicks, which are being regularly fed, and they are also now about the size of the adults.

Herring and black backed gull chicks are now basically independent and wandering around by themselves on all cameras.

We have a clear view of one fulmar chick on Fidra which is growing, but still appears to be later than the gulls.

The gannets are still in full swing, with the chicks continuing to grow and are clearly visible.  The club birds are also still present with some appearing to be much younger as they have not yet got their white feathers.


Sightings from the Boat – Maggie Sheddan       

Dolphins, minke, porpoise, a basking shark, leaping fish, spectacular displays of plunge diving gannets, harbour and grey seals being serenaded at the Bass Rock – this has indeed been a very spectacular week on the sea. Many of these sightings were also seen from the shore!!

Add to this several pufflings rescued/released, along with a few down-covered gannet chicks, a young, but fledged kittiwake (a tarrock) and the star: a tiny down-covered puffling, no more than 3 weeks old, found on Fidra by the mashers. There is no way this little puffling would survive so the SSPCA at Fishcross are certainly being kept busy and enjoying the unusual ‘patients’ we are sending them.

At the end of last week, whether from the viewing deck, the Bass Rock, or sailing to the May, it was evident that shoals of fish were running. Gannets were being spotted plunge diving all over the place and, on route to the May, dozens of shearwaters were being seen. Often that can mean cetaceans may appear. Porpoise have been spotted on a couple of occasions, but there was an unconfirmed report of two minke whale spotted near Fidra last Saturday. Someone said they had seen them spouting. Sailing back from the May on Sunday, within 20 metres of the boat, a minke breached giving passengers a fleeting but spectacular experience. A second one was spotted slightly further away, this must have been one of the two spotted near Fidra. It shows how important it is to always pass on sightings – it keeps us alert out there!

However, the most exciting and unusual sighting this week was out at the May. Just off Kirkhaven, a basking shark was not only spotted but also observed for several hours affording spectacular views for the residents of the island…. Check out the May blog

Gannet chicks, a few with the speckled plumage beginning to show, puffins still to-ing and froing, the odd one with fish in its bill, down-covered fulmar chicks a joy to see, many sit alone very capable of defending themselves with that foul smelling oil they spit, should  anyone  come too close! Shag and gull young are still hounding parents for food.



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