Pr-island and Prejudice – Life on the May

Sophie Castle who works for Scottish Natural Heritage and volunteered to come out to the island for a week to help get things ready for the visitor season writes:

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Last week I was lucky enough to spend some time on the Isle of May. Though not all the time spent was looking as glamorous as this, I was able to get a real flavour of this lovely little island.

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We cleared beaches for the start of the visitor season, painted the old ‘mouse house’ centre to blend with the landscape and made Tern platforms to encourage the safe nesting of their chicks away from gulls. Although completely removed from the work I usually do within SNH and undoubtedly a bit of a cliché, it was really enlightening to see this kind of work at ground level and get a real sense of how the island benefits both man and bird!

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What surprised me the most was how quickly I was able to grasp some of the names and features of birds on the island- this being someone who begun their visit calling Terns, Turnpikes and Eiders, Eiderdowns! I really think that anyone could pick up even just a little knowledge if they spent some time here. You might even see a Puffin!

What I liked most about the Island was the hidden bonus of its quirky little buildings and all the folkloric stories surrounding it. Who knew there would be little pictures of boats and cows hidden away on the top of the lighthouse and who knew there would be a 12th century priory amidst the Puffin burrows? All in all, a great week. If you want the all-inclusive package of wildlife, scenery and history in one, visit the Isle of May! It may just inspire a classic.

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