Saturday 26 May 2012

I love May

Or 'Isle of May' as they say in Fife. After a successful twitch of the Greater Yellowlegs last Saturday, Sunday was earmarked for more chilled out birding on the Isle of May. Late on Saturday, however, a Thrush Nightingale, three Bluethroats and a Red-backed Shrike were reported on the Island. I have heard but not seen Thrush Nightingale in Dorset so a potential tick was on the cards.

Grey Seals were numerous around the island

Guillemots were on the cliffs in huge numbers - this Bridled Guillemot one of only a few seen

The first Puffins appeared not far out of Anstruther Harbour
The tides meant less time than normal on the island - only 2 hours - and after the warden's welcome speech that was down to 1 hour 50 minutes. He was actually very helpful, telling me where all the rarities had been seen, but in the time available I was unable to find any of them. There were migrants around, however, including several Redstarts, a single Black Redstart, Chiffchaffs and a Whitethroat - all easily seen in the absence of cover. One Bluethroat was seen by one lucky photographer in the mouth of a Heligoland trap - but not by me unfortunately.




At this time of year on such a warm day half of the Puffins were in burrows and the other half generally out at sea, but it was a good opportunity to practice some flight photography as they whirred to and from the island. Breeding Eider, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill were also present in good numbers.


The boat cruised slowly under the auk-covered cliffs before the journey back, which was punctuated by a steady stream of Gannets commuting to and from nearby Bass Rock.
Drake Eider

Female Eider

Gannet - 3rd year



Puffin with Sandeels

Whitethroat - one of a number of migrants on the island

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