Wednesday 22nd January comments: Winter is a time of cold temperatures (!) heavy seas and short daylight hours and it’s one of the reasons why our seabirds depart the May and head elsewhere (they are seabirds after all and many prefer the open sea as less chance of being predated).
Whilst migratory passerines move south, our seabirds take on a very different strategy which differs between species. The previous blog highlighted the movement of Puffins but some birds will remain relatively nearby to the May. The largest of them all; the Shag, will generally remain around the island in good numbers and utilise the May as a safe overnight roosting spot (we’ll be bringing you a blog soon on how you can help with sightings). Small numbers of Eiders also winter around the Isle with vast numbers in the Firth of Forth. Interestingly our Guillemots having been away for two months into the North Sea but are returning daily at present albeit for just an hour or so at dawn before heading back out to sea. These winter-plumage birds will return to cliff ledges occupied during the summer as the urge to establish and defend a good cliff ledge is strong even in winter.
It all makes for fascinating viewing and it’s still impressive how each seabird picks a different strategy which works for them and although we’ve highlighted the species which remain, we’ll be telling you more about the birds which go much further in our next blog post.