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 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 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.

Wildlife Sightings 10 August 2017

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There is less action now as the season draws to a close. The last of our kittiwakes are lingering on the Isle of May, Fidra and Dunbar with a few juveniles still being seen.

Our fulmars on Fidra and the Isle of May are still doing well, the chicks are getting quite large but still fairly elusive, tending to hide away out of view from our cameras. We have not seen any puffins on the islands over the last few days but a few have been seen from our boat trips.

Our gannets are still flourishing with a vast number being seen diving all along the coastline this morning. It is very unusual to see them so close to the shore and in such huge numbers, stretching from the East beach all the way to Fidra. We have switched our Bass Rock cameras over in the Discovery Centre again and have managed to find some older chicks higher up the island. It is tricky to accurately age a chick but they appear to be around 8-9 weeks old and are beginning to gain their dark adult feathers. Typically it is around 13 weeks before they fledge.

A few lucky passengers managed to spot dolphins at the weekend. The morning boat trips saw them coming up from Tantallon and the later trips followed them from Lamb to Fidra. They were easily visible from the telescope deck on Saturday and Sunday. There is now an effort being made to identify the dolphins so we encourage anyone with photos to send them in so a ID catalogue can be made and we can work out where they go when they are not here.

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

Wildlife Sightings 3 August

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Well things are starting to quieten down now after a busy period.

Our puffins have been leaving this week and there are few, if any, left now. The majority will now be out in the Atlantic for the rest of the year before coming back here to breed next year. It won’t be long until researchers publish the details of puffin populations for this year but given some of the poor summer weather we’ve had the results are not expected to be particularly good this year.

The last of the kittiwakes are nearly gone too with just a few large juveniles left. The rock stacks around the Isle of May are now completely deserted of razorbills and guillemots. Even our shags are mostly away with only a few left.

On Craigleith we still have a lot of juvenile cormorants who appear to have formed a large social group. The sunshine is still resulting in a few grey seals hauling out to sunbathe on the shoreline which is always good to see.

Fidra doesn’t have many seabirds left so our peregrines are once again becoming easy to spot now that most of their favourite perches are empty. There are still a few fulmars  around that the peregrines are wary of as they are very territorial and protective of their chicks. Hopefully we will continue to see the peregrines through winter as we did last year.

The gannets of course are still here on the Bass Rock. Our largest chick is now around 8 weeks old and so will be here for around a month before leaving. It won’t be long now until staff head out to the island to put up some ramps around the lighthouse to stop the guga’s, (young gannets) getting stuck in the walled courtyard which they sometimes do. Even once they have fledged they will stay in the area for a week or two so we still have a few months more to watch our gannets.

The good news is that we have had dolphins sighted twice this week and there has even been a minke whale spotted from the Isle of May lately so do keep an eye out if you go on one of our boat trips!

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

Wildlife Sightings 27 July

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We’ve had a very busy week here in the Discovery Centre with the school holidays in full swing. Luckily there is lots going on so it has been a great time to come!

Our little fulmar chick that was mentioned previously has been seen quite often now and is actually fairly large. It is still difficult to spot it and we can’t see any others yet but they must be there somewhere. Our puffins are a little bit more scarce but are actually doing better than we expected, usually they would be leaving at this time of year. They did arrive late so it is possible they may stay late as well.

With most of seabird breeding season coming to an end we have been seeing a lot more of our peregrine falcon on Fidra who can now reclaim her old perches from all the nesting seabirds. Peregrines are the only birds we have who do not appear to be breeding anywhere that we know of.

The sunny weather has again resulted in a fair few grey seals being spotted on Craigleith. Often they haul out and sunbathe on the rocks quite near to our cameras. We have around 100 seals in this area and it is always nice to seem on camera.

Our shags all seem to be fledged with only a few juveniles hanging around on the beaches at the moment. Most of the adults seem to be off and the nesting sites are now empty until next year. The same cannot be said of the gannets however who are still nesting. Unfortunately it hasn’t been a very good year for them but there are still a lot of chicks visible from our cameras. It will still be a good few weeks until they fledge and we get to watch them leap from their perches and swoop into the sea.

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