Wildlife sightings 16 March 2017

Wildlife sightings from the Discovery Centre cameras – Helen

Last week we had wonderful displays from the male cormorants flicking their wings and showing their white flanks. It’s all paid off, as they now have females joining them on the nests!

On Fidra and Isle of May the shags are nest-building and squabbling, and treating us to some beautiful courtship as they move their heads in unison. The main fish tank is looking great with its new seaweed. And we have a ‘teenage’ seal on Isle of May, sunbathing on its back – that’s the life!

Puffins– Maggie

Puffins are back! A few were spotted offshore from Craigleith. On the same day, a similar story on the seas around the May. When will the first one be spotted on land? Another recent return are the lesser black backed gulls near the yachting pond. Among the turnstones and redshanks, I spotted a couple of dunlin and the black redstart was still around last week. 40+ eider’s rafting close by their unmistakable ooOOOoo filling the air. Such an evocative sound.

On the Bass last week thousands of gannets, several dozen sitting around the chapel area. It’s always interesting to see which birds, particularly in the study areas, have returned. No sign on any darvick birds but couple of fresh deposits of seaweed as the rebuilding of nests begins.  They were all very jumpy. By Easter week the first egg may appear! It is hoped this year that some early season study may be undertaken. Will keep you updated on that. Interestingly no fulmars on site, a few swooping around but from a visit a few weeks ago, where there were several dozen sitting; it does show nothing is really settled at this time of year, but soon!

I would expect we will hear of first shag eggs before long. When out on the May a couple of weeks ago, it was interesting, some mornings none were on site but by afternoon token nesting material was being brought in. By the time I left they were in attendance for most of the day. Of course, all breakfast viewing on the webcams!  One incredibly calm morning as I headed to the cliff area the AAhaar of the guillemots just reverberated around. How can you not smile! It is such a summer sound. I headed over to the cliffs to just sit and observe a while. Thousands of birds tightly packed on every ledge, razorbills in their hundreds perched on the nooks and crannies. As I sat lower down by one of he hides if I stretched out my arm I probably could have touched the dozens of razorbills that flew directly over my head. What a magical way to start the day!  The next morning only a handful of both species.  A couple of days later I heard kittiwakes.  Apart from the odd lazy young seal that just slept all day, the salt burnt vegetation is perfect camouflage for the hundreds of rabbits. As you walk along suddenly a sea of white flashes as little bob tails scatter. As green shoots push through and puffins return, the season is on the cusp.



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