Wildlife sightings 8 October 2015

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

Our first seal pup is here! ‘Maya’ was first spotted on Sunday 4 October at Pilgrim’s Haven on the Isle of May while camera maintenance work was being carried out. It was not alone for long though, with our second pup appearing on 7 October. There are several females hauled out on the beach so I am sure they will be joined by many more pups. Cows and the occasional bull are often spotted in the water ‘bottling’ and with the rough weather lately a few even got swept onto the beach with the waves. Our ‘One Born in a Minute’ competition is now live so visitors have the chance to witness a live birth or to spot a new seal and win an adoption pack as well as to name the seal pup. It will still be a few weeks before females return to Craigleith and the first few pups appear there.

Gannets still remain on the Bass Rock, however, many nests are now emptying and many of the gugas have fledged and are now on the water. The peregrine falcon still makes the occasional appearance on the lighthouse as well as on Fidra cliffs though they, too, are becoming quite scarce. Cormorants and shags can still be seen on the lower cliffs on Fidra and Craigleith with a few ringed shags also being spotted and recorded to help with the CEH long term study of shag distribution. Winter is fast approaching but many of our returning winter waders have been on our shores for quite some time already. The familiar call of oystercatchers and redshanks can be heard from the scope deck and café deck as well as the speckled sight of turnstones and curlews.

Our tidal tank is slowly starting to fill with anemones and crabs, and many of the former are producing new anemones right in our tank. The concept all along was to have an anemone forest in the tidal tank. I think it is safe to say that it won’t take long before this becomes a reality. The edible crabs, shore crabs and squat lobster are also doing very well.

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