Wildlife sightings 11 March 2016

From the Discovery Centre team – Alex

The gannets are now increasing in number since their arrival just more than a week ago. Individuals have already begun to prepare their nests ready for the breeding season and pairs are reuniting with frantic beak fencing, as well as the occasional ‘bow’ to trespassers. At the moment the gannets are lining the nests with the little material that remains from last season. Soon we will start to see gannets flying to and from the nest with large amounts of seaweed in their beaks. This foraging will bring the gannets quite close to us here at the centre and we often see a dozen or so in the lead up the summer and the first eggs.

The peregrines continue to make their usual appearances on Fidra and Craigleith respectively and soon we will start seeing the peregrines back on the lighthouse railings on the Bass Rock.

Kittiwakes have also arrived at Dunbar and, as with the gannets, are preparing their nests on the small ledges of the castle remains. Numbers have fluctuated since their arrival on Wednesday but soon both stacks will be full. Shags, cormorants and guillemots are also in position on their respective nest sites and stacks, both at Fidra and Craigleith but also on the May.

On the May we have also seen two grey seal pups/moults on the beach, one spotted and the other browner in colour, so one female and one male. A female seal moult was also spotted on Craigleith on Wednesday and remained there all day hauled out on the rocks.

It appears that as we draw closer and closer to Easter, the more likely it is that our mermaid’s purse will hatch, perfect timing! The egg yolk is now completely gone and dark markings are appearing on the catsharks body. A second container is at hand which will be used for the 9cm long catshark once it hatches. We are very keen on showing the shark to visitors and especially to members following 8 months of monitoring. Convenient if it does indeed hatch at Easter to go along with our ray and turtle talk that we will be holding in the theatre at different points during the Easter holidays.

Bass Rock Web Cam 2




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