Wildlife Sightings 12 October

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Seal season progresses on the Isle of May.  We now have 8 pups on the beach, sadly, we lost a ninth yesterday.  There are still loads more cows resting on the beach and wallowing in the shallows so it’s going to get busy!  Alex has fixed the Craigleith camera, but no sign of pups there yet – it’s always a few weeks behind the Isle of May.

Adult gannets are still much in evidence on Bass Rock.  It’s getting harder to find a guga though as they are setting off to sea.  Our youngest chick is getting more brown feathers.  It’s doing well and has spent the morning begging for food!

We’ve had several sightings of the peregrines, and the guillemots have reappeared early mornings on the Isle of May.

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Wildlife Sightings 7 October

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Seal season has begun!  We have four grey seal pups on the Isle of May cameras.  The first two were born on Monday 2 October (two days earlier than last year) and followed by another two on Tuesday.  They are already growing fast and finding their way around the beach.  Many mums-to-be are gathered on the beach today waiting their turn, and even more just in the shallows.

The gannets are thinning out on Bass Rock, but there are still several ‘parliament geese’ with the strip of downy feathers along their necks.  We’ve been watching one young chick for the last few weeks – its white down is just giving way to a few brown tips on wings and tail.  Still a while before it will be ready to go.

The peregrine has been spotted having lunch on Fidra – a gory, feathery affair that delighted the visitors!  Dolphins are still putting in appearances now and then, and the ever-present shags are gathering in the late afternoons for a post-fishing preen!

Wildlife Sightings 30 September

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More and more grey seals are arriving back to our respective colonies on Isle of May and Craigleith. Still too early for the first pup to be seen on camera (4th October going off the past two years on the May!) though two pups have already been born on the May with the oldest now approaching two weeks old. One or two bulls have been seen around the May cameras but the majority are returning females, some of which look heavily pregnant which is a good sign. At the moment, you are likely to see the seals in the water ‘bottling’/sleeping or resting on the lower shore line of either the May or Craigleith.

There are still several gugas with dense white down so these will likely be our late leavers on the Bass Rock, though there are signs of the rock thinning out and this can even be seen from the centre. We have been seeing some great fledging behaviour of some of the older chicks jumping from the lighthouse courtyard and roof to the delight of patiently waiting visitors, staff and volunteers.

Shags, cormorants and peregrines can still be seen on the lower areas of the islands with the latter making a few appearances on Craigleith in recent weeks. Waders are now becoming more prominent with redshanks, turnstones and oystercatchers foraging around the rockpools at low tide and the unmistakable call of the oystercatcher can be heard overhead.

Keep up-to-date with the wildlife action with our webcams.

Wildlife Sightings 23 September

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The Isle of May has had a beach clean in preparation for the start of seal season.   With all the heavy rain there was a lot of rubbish washed up at Pilgrim’s Haven.  We’re eagerly anticipating our first seal pup – one has already been born at the north of the island.

The gannets are thinning out on Bass Rock as the gugas head off, shortly followed by their parents.  We still have quite a few stuck by the lighthouse.  It’s been painful to watch them struggle up to the top of the ramp, contemplate the view and then come back down again!  We have seen a few take to the air though too.

Shags and gulls are still on view in numbers and we’re seeing waders and the smaller birds on camera – oystercatchers and pied wagtails, in particular.

Keep up-to-date with the wildlife action with our webcams.

Wildlife Sightings 16 September

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The gannets continue to be the main show!  You really get a sense of their huge wingspan seeing the gugas practising for their first flight.  And the air is full of down as they shed their baby fluff and grow the brown speckly juvenile feathers.  There are several stuck by the lighthouse, one half way up the ramp but it hasn’t worked out what to do next!  We’ve a lovely view of a much smaller chick on camera – here’s hoping he fledges before the weather gets too bad.

The shags are still around in numbers – gathered on the shoreline, preening after a hard day’s fishing. Our fulmar chicks are no longer in view so it would seem they’ve headed off to sea. Today we had a group of young eider ducks in Dunbar harbour.

There are quite a lot of grey seals milling around Dunbar and the Isle of May lately. They are not breeding anywhere that our cameras can see however there has been a pup born on the Isle of May this week! It won’t be long until the island is covered in seals as around 3500 come on land to breed in the next few weeks.

Keep up-to-date with the wildlife action with our webcams.

Wildlife Sightings 31 August

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Still a quiet week for us as we await our seals. The good news is that the dolphins have been out in force and have been seen almost every day this week. There is still a dolphin ID campaign running so we urge anyone with good quality photographs to send them to us so that we can work with marine agencies to create a ID chart. Our boat team were also lucky to see a minke whale this week, a very rare visitor.

Our gannets are still doing well with the first few starting to fledge this week. It is still a difficult period for them as they are unable to fly and forage initially and so are at risk of being washed ashore during bad weather. We’ve already had two juveniles rescued and are likely to find more in the coming weeks.

The peregrine falcons on Fidra have been out this week with both females being seen which is encouraging as we had thought one had left us for good. There are both still young so as they age they may compete for the island and one will likely be forced to leave.

Keep up-to-date with the wildlife action with our webcams.

Wildlife Sightings 24 August 2017

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Well our oldest gannet has almost reached fledging age but is still hanging on. We have yet to see any gannets fledge yet despite seeing a huge amount of fledging behaviour such as chicks stretching their wings and flapping on the nest.

Erin from the DC team was lucky enough to spot a pod of porpoise just off Fidra a few days ago. This marks the only time that porpoise have ever been seen on camera. Fidra has also been providing views of our peregrines this week, with the young female being seen with a kill at the weekend.

Craigleith has a huge number of shags which we are watching intently as part of a new campaign to record find ringed shags and record the code and colour of the ring. This is being done to help scientists track the behaviour of shags around the country. We also had a grey seal in amongst the shag colony, sunbathing on the rocks for most of yesterday morning.

Keep up-to-date with the wildlife action with our webcams.