Wildlife sightings 27 August 2015

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

The auks have now firmly left our waters and have headed out to sea for winter. Our most active cameras remain Bass Rock and Fidra. Gugas continue to moult their white fluffy feathers and many have been seen testing out their wings. A few fluffier gugas remain on the nests and the Bass itself continues to shine brightly, when the sun is out at least! The peregrines continue to visit the ledges on Fidra as well as the lighthouse on the Bass. A peregrine has also been sighted occasionally on Craigleith.

The fulmar chicks are continuing to develop well and remain a popular sight with both visitors and members. Shag and cormorant adults and juveniles also continue to rest on the grassy verges below the fulmar alcoves as well as that late shag chick. Isle of May is still rather quiet, like the calm before the storm, before the grey seals start returning to land to give birth as well as to breed. Kittiwakes are still seen on the stacks on the May and many of the chicks have now fledged the nests.

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Wildlife sightings 20 August 2015

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Liz

Most of the action on the cameras this week has been on Fidra and Bass Rock. There have been regular peregrine sightings on both, and these islands are now home to our last chicks of the season. The young guga on the Bass continue to develop well with more and more brown feathers appearing. Rebecca, our visiting researcher from Edinburgh University, finished collecting her data on Wednesday and now has the task of analysing her results. We wish her luck and look forward to hearing about her findings.

Meanwhile the fulmar chicks on Fidra are growing fast. They have been very lively and are popular with visitors. One even saw off a curious juvenile shag last week. The chicks are on their own much of the time so it is good to see that they have a feisty nature. There are also some late shag chicks still in a nest on Fidra. They are large but still evidently fluffy. One of the parents is ringed but we have yet to confirm its code.

It’s all about anemones in our tank at the moment with some newly budded offspring produced in recent weeks by a mature anemone on the lobster pot, while two neighbouring anemones at the other end of the tank have been fighting over the best spot with much aggressive behaviour on show. Beadlet anemones use their blue ring of stinging nematocysts to attack other anemones that invade their space. An exciting display for visitors.

Wildlife sightings 13 August 2015

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Liz

Seals have been seen regularly on our cameras over the last few days alongside many juvenile shags frequently preening and drying their wings on the rocks around the islands. Meanwhile the young female peregrine continues to be seen regularly on Fidra cliff.

Two guga were rescued from near the Bass Rock lighthouse on Wednesday during a visit by a camera crew. It seems they had wandered from their nests. The chicks were still quite young with lots of white down and after a brief visit to the Seabird Centre they are now in the care of the SSPCA and should be released later in the year.

Wildlife sightings 6 August 2015

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Liz

Lots of changes out on the islands this week as we say goodbye to the puffins. After a few days of busy activity and preparations they have headed out onto the water. The darkening of the cheek feathers was visible on several individuals before they left and soon their colourful beaks will fade for the winter as they finish their performance for another season.

The young female peregrine seen regularly on Fidra is now coming into her adult plumage. Meanwhile the male and female peregrine on the Bass Rock were caught in a stand-off over a kill on the lighthouse several days ago, a sure sign that their partnership has now ended for the season. Many of the young guga on the Bass Rock are coming into their brown plumage but they still have another four or five weeks of growing to do before they are ready to fledge.