Cameras in the Discovery Centre – Catherine & Mal

The Bass Rock again continues to be the main focus of activity with young gannets showing the full range of stages from fluffy chicks to the dark adolescent gugas! Club birds are also still present in the lower areas of the Bass, particularly at the helipad.

The last few adolescent fulmars can still be spotted on Fidra and Craigleith and look ready to fledge soon.

Cormorants and shags are still visible on Craigleith.

Kittiwakes have all fledged from Dunbar Harbour now but there have been quite a few sightings of seals in the harbour instead!

Grey seals will be coming to the islands soon so we’ll be on the lookout for new arrivals!

Sightings from Maggie Sheddan

Bass This time last year the yip–yip sound of the flightless guga tilting, wings flapping, desperately trying (without success) to be airborne as the boat passes was a common sight. This week only a couple have been spotted on the water. Two days of strong offshore winds may have blown any that recently fledged out to sea, but the season is late. On the promontory by the west cave, the front two rows have young from approx 4 -7 weeks old. Behind them various ages, some ‘parliament goose’ stage and a few almost ready to fledge with only a wisp of down showing.
We rescued one the other day. In the lee of the Bass with a high tide, I was able to scramble onto the rock it was perched on. As I was balancing myself before I stretched to grab it, it promptly jumped into the sea to the amusement of the passengers. Back on board and hanging over the side with boat hook in hand I finally captured it. Without a box to put it in, the only option was to hold it for the rest of the trip…That was fine in the shelter of the rock, but once exposed to the brisk westerlies and having to continue guiding, my feisty new friend certainly provided entertainment as every so often I would have to wrestle with it, hang on, smile and ignore the fact that it had a firm hold of my jacket or finger. As ever, unappreciative, it went off to the care of the SSPCA.
This past week there has been another influx of club birds with the landing areas packed with non-breeders.

Craigleith The wind appears to have caused the cormorants to move on. Only a couple have been seen this week. Shags and juveniles easily spotted. Fulmars have been gliding along the cliffs. A few kittiwakes have been sitting at sites on the west of the island probably due to the winds. Seals have been few over the weekend but last week, on low tides, we saw quite a few grey hauled out on low rocks. Off the Craig a raft of 6 eiders – this was two females with a crèche of four ducklings spotted a few weeks ago. It really is lovely to see them all still together. Guillemots also spotted on the sea recently. Spend a little time on the viewing deck spotting!

Isle of May is gearing up for its special “Lighthouse Open days”. This really is an amazing weekend with access to all three lighthouses, the engine room with its many original well-maintained features. It also shows that the May is not just about birds. Of course with winds changing this weekend the odd interesting migrant may well appear.
With the seal season almost upon us, it may be we will cruise slowly around Rona in hope of spotting some of the several hundred seals that regularly haul out there.. Only three weeks until ‘Seal open Day’ and the end of the May sailings for another year. Prior to this, with regular weekend sailings, we hope seals will be a commonplace sight!

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