Shag ringing – The Wreck

Here is an extract from the marvellous book ‘The Isle of May’ by Eggling 1960.
“The Danish ship Island (1,774 tons) ran on to the rocks immediately south east of Colms Hole in dense fog at 5:30pm on the 13th April 1937. She was plying with cargo and passengers between Iceland, Copenhagen and Leith, and had 36 people on board including 28 passengers, two of whom were infants.”
The Island  is now a shadow of its former self. The wreck has almost halved in size in the three seasons I’ve been out here, battered by the harsh winter seas.

There are still some very large fragments of wreckage left over in it’s really large debris field. The nooks and crannies and ledges make it a great place for Shags to nest. In the past up to 100 have nested in amongst the contorted bits of metal but as the years go by the fewer birds nest as it breaks up.


The wreck is a very sensitive part of the Isle of May. With shags breeding in such high densities access to the site strictly for core research only. I was privileged to go out with the ‘Team Shag’ (Honk) yesterday to help ring the young broods in the wreck.This is the first time I’ve been down to the wreck during breeding season. I was not disappointed.

Mark expertly extricates a bird safely to be processed

 Very apt that White BBC is ringed after all the media attention that the island has had.
 One of the chicks regurgitated this beautiful Butterfish


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