Monday, 30 June 2014

Guillemots, Razorbills and Others

A colony of guillemots on the Isle of May.
Guillemots (Uria aalge) and razorbills (Alca torda) are both members of the auk family. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the shape of the bill, the guillemot has a pointed bill and the razorbill a shorter flatter bill crossed by a white line. Both are present in this photo, two razorbills bottom left, guillemots top and right.
Lesser black-backed gull and two chicks. These gulls are voracious  predators. Special measures using garden canes and tiny wooden tents have been introduced into the tern breeding areas to protect the eggs and chicks from these gulls.
Lesser black-backed gull nesting.
Eider ducks nesting.

Nesting shags taken on a previous visit to the Isle of May some years ago. Beautiful dark green sheen on the feathers, bright yellow patch on each side of the bill and a crest of feathers on top of the head, distinguish the shag from the cormorant.
Kittewakes nesting on the rocks opposite.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Dive-Bombing Terns

Arriving at Kirkhaven on the Isle of May, have to run the gauntlet of the arctic terns to get to the new visitor centre. They are ground nesting birds and protect their eggs and chicks by dive-bombing all comers. A hat is essential!!
Arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) perching on the fence in front of the visitor centre.

Two tern chicks peek out from under a little wooden tent. These have been erected to protect the chicks from predating gulls. Garden canes have also been stuck into the site to deter the gulls.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Isle of May - Puffins

Puffins (Fratercula arctica)- the most colourful of the seabirds with their brightly coloured bills and bright orange legs.

Good to see them with their beaks full of sand eels - food for the chicks, also known as pufflings. The parent birds raise a single chick in underground burrows.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Trip to the Isle of May

Beautiful warm day on Wednesday with light winds and the May Princess was full as we left Anstruther Harbour. We were overtaken by the RIB 'Osprey' as we neared the island.
Also saw the RIB from the Sea Bird Centre in North Berwick.
 Approaching Kirkhaven on the island, Stevenson's lighthouse prominent.
 The May Princess tied up at Kirkhaven.
Stevenson's lighthouse and the new visitor centre in the foreground.
 The path up to the lighthouse.
The remains of Scotland's first lighthouse. The beacon was first lit in 1636. In 1816 its beacon was replaced by Stevenson's lighthouse.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A Colourful Bank of Poppies

A colourful bank of oriental poppies (Papaver orientale)  at the side of the road leading to Lundin Golf Club.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Keil's Den Bridge Rebuilt

It's been a while since we walked up through Keil's Den to the bridge at the top which carries the road over the Keil Burn. The last time was in 2012 and at that time part of the side of the bridge had collapsed.

The bridge has now been sympathetically rebuilt in the same style and there is a plaque on the bridge to mark the date in 2013.

A picture of the spot taken in 2010. Unfortunately the seat is no longer there. I think it simply rotted away. It would be good to see it replaced as it's a lovely spot.
On the way home, looking back to the den, with Largo Law in the background and cows peacefully grazing in the meadow.