Wildlife sightings 22 December 2016

The latest news from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

As we approach Christmas many of our grey seals have now departed, from both the Isle of May and Craigleith. Overall it has been a great seal season in terms of numbers and it is believed that Craigleith has had its record season for pups for the past seven years or so.

Isle of May has also been busy with approx. 80 pups born at Pilgrims Haven, though it is always difficult to get an accurate number. There are still a few young pups left on the May still dependent on their mothers for food. Many moulted pups have headed up the slope to the wall for a bit of an explore and are ready to head out to sea.

Guillemots continue to be seen in the mornings on the main stacks at the May but are often gone by mid-day. Fulmars continue to be seen on Fidra with a lot of courtship behaviour and preening. They will soon depart once again for the open sea before returning to breed next year. The peregrines continue to be spotted on both Fidra and Craigleith respectively, with the young female being the main star of the pairs that we have around the islands.

A black redstart has been spotted behind the Centre next to the lobster hatchery storage units. With fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the UK it is a very rare sight! Maggie was speaking with one lady yesterday who had heard the news about the bird being spotted and was keen to see it. We may receive many visitors in the coming days who wish to see this very rare bird.

A new addition to the Discovery Centre is our sightings board. Kindly supported by the volunteers, the board will be particularly useful to demonstrate what can be seen on the cameras or what has been seen, such as the first gannet arrival, first egg, chick etc.

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