Wildlife sightings 21 July 2016

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

Bass Rock has its first moulting guga on camera with darker plumage very visible now. This guga, the oldest, is also now starting to stretch and flap its wings so is already very keen to fledge the nest. A couple more weeks to go, however, before it will be truly ready to leave and, fingers crossed, make the journey safely down to the water. The peregrines have been spotted on the lighthouse again this week with a few kills spotted around the platforms, often kittiwakes and fulmars being the prey.

Craigleith and the May are still showing puffins which is great so, if you haven’t been down to see them yet this season, then please make sure you do before they head off in a couple of weeks. No pufflings spotted live on camera so eyes peeled for the first few popping their heads out of the burrow. There are a few instances of puffins being spotted with sandeels in their beaks so there are definitely still chicks out there.

CRaigleith Puffin July 2016


Wildlife sightings 14 July 2016

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

The Bass Rock continues to be a buzz of activity with chicks now beginning to emerge from underneath the protection of their parents. A few gugas have already started to moult and will soon develop their darker speckled plumage. Still too early to be seeing them take off however on their first flight, but the first few may be seen later on this month and into early August.

On Fidra, the peregrine male and daughter continue to be seen on Fidra and occasionally the Bass Rock pair make an appearance on the lighthouse. Scott also spotted a peregrine on Craigleith on a ledge that was often used last year by a male and female peregrine.

Puffins are beginning to bring back sandeels in their bills which is a clear sign that chicks have hatched. On a visit to the May this week to fix the cliff camera I saw lots of puffins and arctic terns with fish in their bills, which was a great sight and sign of chicks having hatched. There are also a few grey seals around Pilgrim’s Haven and occasionally a few are spotted on the beach.

Peregrine July 2016


Wildlife sightings 8 July 2016

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Sarah

The Bass Rock has filled-up even more with chicks – we now have a range of ages on camera from our oldest chick, hatched around the 1 June by the chapel, to our youngest, with their feather tips just beginning to grow. We’ll see the Bass turn even more white in the coming weeks as the oldest chicks begin to moult and grow in their juvenile feathers.

We’ve been lucky this week with sightings of both male and female peregrine falcons on Fidra, and on Tuesday we had a peregrine on the Bass Rock lighthouse with a kill. Our Fidra falcons have been very dependable, sitting still all day most days on the middle cliff ledge.

Gigha, the chick of our Craigleith herring gulls Islay and Jura, has been very active this week, running about the area of the nest site. The nest has disappeared behind the huge bush of Tree Mallow that now covers it! In another week Gigha should be ready to fledge.

Many of the kittiwake chicks in Dunbar are now beginning to develop the distinctive dark “W” shape appearing on the leading edge of their wings, and they’ll be ready to fledge in another few weeks.

The only seabird still sitting on eggs is the fulmar – we’ve got our eyes peeled for any signs of hatchlings! We have an unusual pair of fulmars right underneath the Craigleith South camera who look like they’re only just making a nest scrape now. They are very clearly a pair, but whether they start trying to breed this late in the season will be very interesting.

Many of the seabirds in the Forth are now fitted with Darvic and ornithological rings – including kittiwakes, lesser black-backed gulls, puffins and shags. Keep your eyes out for juvenile seabirds with colourful rings around their legs and let us know in the Discovery Centre! This will help track where they are going and help with conservation work.

Check out the Seabird camera action at home by clicking HERE. 

Fidra July 2016