Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex
We are approaching that time of year when the islands begin to quieten, but there is still lots of interesting activity until then. The grey seals on the Isle of May and Craigleith are doing very well despite the turbulent weather of the past month. There have now been over 65 pups born on the May and ten on Craigleith. Many of the older pups on the May are now beginning to moult and separate from their mothers. Still too early for that on Craigleith but we will soon see many of the pups moult and explore their surroundings. Still no sign of mating behaviour between the females and their corresponding bulls though.
There are still a few gannets left on Bass Rock and even two gugas left, still flapping their wings in preparation for their first flight. Fingers crossed these last remaining juveniles take flight soon. The peregrines continue to be seen on Fidra and even more so now on Craigleith too. On Sunday Scott spotted a sparrowhawk on Fidra cliff, on a ledge usually used by the peregrines. We don’t often see other terrestrial based birds of prey on the islands so this was an unusual sighting indeed.
Linnets were also spotted over the weekend on Craigleith with approximately ten individuals counted. Winter waders will soon be increasing in number both on the shore around the centre as well as on the islands themselves. Oystercatchers, redshanks and turnstones have been on the rocky shores and the East beach for a few months now but their numbers will begin to increase over the coming weeks. Waders like curlews have also been spotted on Fidra and Craigleith.