Wildlife sightings 11 January 2018

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Erin & Fran

As seal season draws to a close, just a handful of pups remain on the Isle of May. Males have been spotted on the beach looking to mate with the remaining females.

Fidra has seen the return of many fulmars, they are currently enjoying perching on the clifftops.  Earlier this week Erin and Mal came to the rescue of a helpful member trying to save a rogue fulmar. Erin gave it the once over and concluded that it had either eaten something it shouldn’t and perhaps it was just a little under the weather. The SSPCA collected him and we hear he’s making a ‘fulmar’ recovery!

Lots of ringed shags have been appearing on Fidra and the Isle of May. They are often spotted in a row, preening their feathers.

The peregrines have been very active recently and visible on the Fidra cameras along the clifftops this week. We have been treated to several beautiful shots featuring both the male and female peregrines, often perched on the fence posts looking out over the water.

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


Wildlife sightings 14 December 2017


Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

Grey seals remain our main wildlife focus on the cameras at the moment though the mornings on the Isle of May have treated us to views of returning guillemots. In the winter plumage we can see them on the two main stacks visible from the cliff camera, this being the view that Mike Harris from Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) uses on our live stream to monitor these returning auks.

The peregrines continue to be seen on Fidra often perched on a cliff ledge or on the posts on the top of the cliff. We haven’t seen them with any kills recently but evidence that they have been feeding is still very clear to see! Shags and cormorants are also visible on the cameras, in particular Fidra and Craigleith, resting on the rocky shores.

Younger visitors are enjoying our Poles Apart exhibition learning about the different wildlife of the Arctic and Antarctic. Many are caught comparing their height to that of our polar bear cutout as well as our king penguin cutout. We also have some smaller additional props for our polar portrait station at the bottom of the flyway. We hope to see some of these snaps on social media in the coming weeks!

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

Wildlife sightings 7 December 2017

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Mal & Helen

With the nicer weather at the start of the week, we managed to do a seal count on Craigleith. So our last count was 6 cows, 5 young pups and 6 older pups. With some cows in and around the water line. From the Isle of May cameras today we counted 8 pups, 3 older ones moulting and 7 Mums.  No bulls visible today, but we have seen one relaxing on the beach recently.

All quiet on the Bass Rock now the gannets have gone. The shags and cormorants are still around on Fidra and Isle of May – a few shags already sporting their crests. Our peregrine on Fidra was struggling to eat lunch in the wind – little feathers were flying everywhere!

Our main focus is on the new ‘Poles Apart’ exhibition, dominated by our life-size cardboard polar bear!  We also have a penguin cut-out and plenty of opportunities for Christmas photos with the animals.

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

Wildlife sightings 30 November 2017

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex and Helen

Grey seals and their pups are still our main focus in the DC, with polar bears and penguins not too far behind (!) with our ‘Poles Apart’ winter exhibition set to start in the coming days. The pups on the Isle of May are doing well spending most of their time scratching away their moulting fur and exploring the beach now that their mothers have headed out to sea. We have been struggling to view the colony on the Craigleith cameras due to lack of winter light and weather. However, when they do come on we can see how the seals and the pups are doing and thankfully they look like a large number of pups have been born this year and are developing well. The colony hasn’t produced the same number of pups as 2016 but last year was a very unusual season for pup numbers on Craigleith.

We’ve said goodbye to the gannets on Bass Rock, with our last guga being seen this past Tuesday. The barren rocks are now home to just a few passing rock pipits and wagtails, with the occasional shag, cormorant and seal putting in an appearance.

Eiders are still visiting Dunbar harbour at lunchtimes and we’ve seen the peregrine having lunch on one of her usual spots!

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

Wildlife sightings 23 November 2017

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Alex

We have noticed a slight drop in the number of seals currently on Isle of May though this is likely due to the mothers now weaning their pups and beginning to make their way back out to open water following mating. There are still plenty of pups to see on the beach on the May camera with many having already moulted but there are still a few smaller and leaner pups. Unfortunately these latter pups may have been abandoned so we hope that any mothers that are still currently on the beach will adopt them or provide them with milk to build up their blubber and fat reserves.

We still have a handful of gugas left on the Bass Rock and thankfully they are still getting visits and feeds from dad. They have been flapping their wings so it may only be a few more days until they head off for West Africa. Today Isobel, Jenny and I watched our young female peregrine on Fidra tuck into her breakfast which what appeared to be a blackbird, so quite a light breakfast! Some of our regular morning members were able to watch her feed too before she flew off. We continue to see our peregrines, often both at the same time on some mornings, which provides us with some wildlife to show our visitors.

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

Wildlife sightings 16 November 2017

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Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Helen

Seal season is in full swing with masses of pups on Craigleith and Isle of May.  Some of the first pups will have left and headed out to sea to fend for themselves. There are lots of chubby pups – like a haggis with flippers, someone told us!

We still have a few gannets left on Bass Rock. The chicks have almost shed their white fluffy down so it won’t be long before they’re off.  The parents are still coming back a few times a day to feed them, but when left alone the chicks wander about and practise flying by flapping their huge wings.

We’re still seeing gulls, shags and peregrines.  And there are smaller birds, like pipits and wagtails foraging amongst the rocks.

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

Wildlife sightings 9 November 2017

211117 la isle of may 2

Notes from the Discovery Centre team – Erin

Seal pup numbers have continued to grow this past week with over 30 pups now on Craigleith. One of the eldest has already begun to moult, indicating that it is around three weeks old. We have watched some of the older pups on the May taking to the water for the first time. Getting caught on the incoming tide can be fatal for pups who don’t yet carry enough blubber, however as the larger pups are better insulated, they’re able to handle a little swim.

The remaining gugas continue to do well and are still being fed several times a day. As older gugas continue to fledge, we have seen several wandering around looking a little confused as to why all the space has opened up and where everyone else has gone, they’re trying to find their way to the cliff edge.

The peregrines continue to be seen on Fidra, sometimes two at the same time but on different ledges. The individuals we are seeing at the moment look different to our regular peregrines though the young female peregrine still makes appearances on her usual cliff ledges.

Keep up-to-date with the wildlife action on our webcams – click HERE.