Wildlife sightings 5 Mar 2015

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Claudia

We have had a great week! The gannets are back and every day we can spot more coming in. They bring seaweed and have already had disagreements with their neighbours even though there is plenty of space. Still a long way to go to full capacity but we’re sure they will keep enchanting the visitors. A lot of members are coming back to see them up close on camera.

In our tank we have spotted the baby blenny again. It has grown considerably and is now nearly an inch long. And our hermit crabs have eggs! Unfortunately it is not possible to breed them in captivity, so we didn’t mark the crab in question. However the biggest hermit crab (Charlie) has now a full size sea anemone on his back which wobbles around like jelly when he is walking over the sand.

The peregrines are making a regular visit nearly every day to the ledge on Fidra. We have now seen the pair of them on the same spot so the female is definitely back! On the other side of Fidra our reliable fulmars are sitting in between the puffin burrows. The guillemots and razorbills have disappeared over the weekend but they will come back soon.

Sightings from Maggie

Reading back on sightings from previous years 2009/11, this calendar week has always been an exiting week. Kittiwakes may return, the odd sighting of puffins, on land and sea. The Bass went from a chalky white to gleaming in a short space of time, (although all the afore mentioned are still likely to come and go). The peregrine pair mating on Fidra (as in the Discovery Centre footage) two others on the lighthouse on the Bass. Guillemots on packed ledges, cormorants and shags displaying.

Of course, return dates are never absolute, but keep an eye on Dunbar Castle as the kittiwakes often come in on a warm afternoon. In 2011 we saw the first ones on 28 Feb. Puffins on the other hand are more likely to be spotted early morning so really only the May camera but always worth checking the sea in front of Craigleith as they may be rafting, but their first visits are usually fleeting, a quick peruse of their habitat, and they head back out to sea.

With all the exciting news of the Bass, first in case you missed it?.. now the largest Northern gannetry in the world, with 75,259 AOS, then the first gannets spotted on camera on 26 February and now voted the Nature Reserve of the Year by BBC Countryfile Magazine. This is indeed a special year for the Bass, and the season has only just begun.

Spotted the lesser black backed gull by the yachting pond last week!

On Craigleith we watch the fantastic spectacle of cormorants displaying to each other. They are establishing their nests at the moment and pairs are starting to form.

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