Black Guillemot

The May Princess landed in on Sunday and out jumped Kevin keen to tell me that he was certain he’d seen a Black Guillemot near the Lowlight. He went on to describe the bird perfectly.

This was good news. I am a real fan of these birds. They look fantastic and it was a new bird for my island list. I had a quick look while the boat was on but drew a blank.

I saw the boat off and went for lunch. I decided to have a look just after lunch. There were thousands of Puffins in big rafts on the water. It was going to be a needle in a haystack trying to find it.

 Is that it?

I started at Kirkhaven and went all the way round to the Lowlight and literally the last bird I looked at was a Black Guillemot!

I could not get decent photos as it was always a long way away.


This bird differs from Common Guillemots by being black all over with white ovals on the wings. This bird had black markings on the white. This suggests it is a bird that was hatched last year.

Here is a picture of a Common Guillemot for comparison. This bird still has a chick.
July can be a quiet month for migrating birds on the Isle of May but this bird and Wood Sandpiper means that it’s worth going out searching for things. You never know what is next to turn up.
Black Guillemots are recorded almost annually on the Isle of May. They appear mainly in the winter. It is a scarce bird along the east coast of Scotland but reasonably easy to see along the west coast.

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One Response to Black Guillemot

  1. Excellent photos, great detective work, all coming together to make a great blog entry. Well done, Jeremy

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