Wildlife sightings 28 June 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Alex

We have our second gannet chick on camera now which was spotted just this week so it is still very young and not as white and fluffy as our first chick by the chapel wall. It has been a week of chicks with guillemot chicks being spotted on Fidra, Craigleith and Isle of May respectively. Kittiwake chicks too have been spotted at Dunbar harbour with some nests showing two chicks which is a positive sign. Following the late start to the season and the poor weather in Spring it has always been uncertain how the seabirds would react but so far, they are certainly showing positive signs that they are performing well. The Bass Rock is certainly a lot quieter compared to previous years however we must remember that it has been a later start to their breeding season so we should expect lower numbers of chicks this year.

The shag chicks on the Isle of May are growing very well with Baz and Lola’s three already standing upright, or at least attempting to! The controls of these cameras are currently locked to allow the island researchers privacy while they ring guillemots. This is something that we do often during this time and as soon as the shag chicks are approaching fledging the cameras will be locked once again to allow CEH (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) privacy to ring the chicks. Then the hunt is on for the DC team to find and identify all of the chicks and record their new rings. Something that Helen does with great enthusiasm and who we owe much thanks to with her continuous work and observations of the shag pairs, chicks and rings on the Isle of May.

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.

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Wildlife sightings 21 June 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Alex

 We are starting to see more puffins on the cameras coming back with sandeels in their beaks. More positive signs that chicks are hatching on the islands. We also saw our first guillemot chicks on Fidra which were spotted by Holly and Laura. So chick season is very much underway with kittiwake and razorbill chicks being the last to hatch.

We have approximately 4 gannet chicks on camera so still very early days at the moment on the Bass Rock but it has been a later start to the breeding season this year following the poor weather at the start of the year.

The peregrines have not been visible for a fair few weeks now though they often disappear for a while during these months to breed themselves so we will be keeping a close eye out for any young juveniles later in the summer.

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.

Wildlife sightings 14 June 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Alex

 

A week has gone by and we are still awaiting the first gannet chicks on our cameras. Plenty of eggs to see on the nests but, as of yet, no chicks. However, we have seen the first sightings of puffins bringing back fish on Fidra and Craigleith so we know that pufflings have arrived on those two islands respectively. Herring gull and black backed gull chicks are also visible on both of those islands so the chick season has indeed begun.

Shag chicks continue to do well with Lola and Baz supporting three chicks at the moment with a few other adjacent nests still with chicks to hatch. One of the later, and so far, unnamed pairs, have three eggs at the moment. So despite the slow start to the season following the horrific weather in February and March, things are starting to look up for our nesting seabirds.

One sad view this week was a kittiwake at Dunbar harbour that had gotten itself tangled up in fishing line and unfortunately has fallen victim to plastic nesting materials. Adjacent to this nest were expecting parents with at least two parents sitting on eggs at the moment.

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.

Wildlife sightings 7 June 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Alex

We are still awaiting our first gannet chicks of the season but, with news that a chick was spotted by Maggie on a landing trip, it won’t be too long before we see chicks on our Bass Rock cameras. Also, news of the first puffling of the season on the Isle of May following the sighting of a puffin returning with sandeels in its bill. We hope to see the same behaviour on the cameras which will mark the arrival of the first Fidra and Craigleith pufflings respectively.

The cormorant chicks on Craigleith are doing well and we had the first gull chicks of the season too, with herring gull and black backed chicks being seen on both the beach and cliff cameras. One or two of the gull chicks have been seen investigating burrow entrances which is a behaviour we have been seeing more and more of on the cameras. Fingers crossed they don’t become too interested and decide to pay the breeding adult puffins a visit!

There have been several grey seals basking on the shores of Craigleith over the past few days, much to the interest to many visitors, both in the Discovery Centre and on the boat trips. They appear quite lean so will likely be young grey seals that were born last year.

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.

Wildlife sightings 31 May 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Alex

We are noticing more and more gannet eggs on the Bass as the parents begin to get a little restless on the nests. Hopefully a sign that their chicks are on their way! We do have the cormorant chicks that can be seen via the Craigleith North camera and they are growing very quickly. There has also been a few female eiders spotted on Craigleith taking their ducklings down to the water to form a creche. There are a lot of other eggs to be seen on camera at the moment with guillemot, razorbill and shag eggs all relatively visible (despite the fog!) on their respective nests. The gulls seem to have taken hold of some areas on Fidra and Craigleith with nests popping up all around our cameras.

Puffins are becoming more settled on the islands at the moment and are staying visible throughout the day compared to how they were behaving a few weeks ago. We have also seen quite a lot of activity on the burrow camera with two puffins coming and going. We hope that this year we will see more of the egg/ puffling with a slightly altered view of the burrow this year, fingers crossed.

The first sighting of dolphins occurred last Friday from the scope deck and hopefully we have as good a year as last year in terms of sightings!

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.

Wildlife sightings 24 May 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Connor, work experience pupil from Preston Lodge High School

Several egg sightings with the guillemot families on the Isle of May beach cam. Dolphins were also spotted out at the south of Craigleith making their way out towards the sea. Plenty of gannet eggs being spotted around the Bass Rock cams with an abundance of happy, healthy gannets.

Not many puffins being seen.

The peregrine falcon has returned several times today along with a couple of grey seals along at Craigleith again.

On the Isle of May the shags continue to give us drama; our shags Jay and Bay have been in their cave with three eggs. Two of Burton and Miss Selfridge’s three eggs had fallen to the side of the nest and eventually fell out.

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.

Wildlife sightings 17 May 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre – Alex

Lots of eggs are appearing on the cameras at the moment. Currently there are gannet, guillemot, cormorant, gull, eider and shag eggs, throughout the different islands. We also have sightings of cormorant chicks on Craigleith. They aren’t too visible at the moment as they are still very young and small.

Puffins are still fluctuating in terms of numbers on the various islands with early morning being the best time to view them on the cameras.

The shags on the May are really picking up speed with a few new nests beginning to appear around the cliff camera. Helen, Erin and team are doing a great job of monitoring the different nests and naming and recording the different darvic rings.

To keep up-to-date with the webcam action, click HERE.