Megan Jones is another Scottish Natural Heritage staff member who volunteered to come out to the May to get a bit of experience of the wild and help us get the island up and running. She told me she increased her bird knowledge by 100% in her time on the island. Here are her thoughts on her stay:
Since I started working at SNH the Isle of May has often been brought up in discussion – it has an almost legendary reputation, both as a mecca for birders and nature lovers world-wide, and as an amazing place to live and work for six months of the year for a lucky few. So, when this opportunity came around – for six intrepid volunteers to stay and work on The May for four days – I decided that it was too good a chance to miss.
During our stay on the island we cleaned beaches, built and installed tern nesting platforms, planted potatoes, painted the old visitor centre, and, of course, watched the birds. Most of my highlights of this time revolve around the delight of seeing the wildlife being as curious about us as we are about them… the shags with their very expressive head feathers were always watching from their nooks and ledges, and the seals, whilst a little more shy were never far away!
If you are going to visit the island (and you should!) be prepared for all weathers. When the sun shines it is warm and bright, with clear views of East Lothian and Fife, but when the wind blows and the fog rolls in the island becomes the whole world. Even the Main Lighthouse will disappear from sight, becoming a dark glooming shadow shining its eerie light in the darkness. It would take a lifetime to get to know the island and its inhabitants as well as they deserve, but even a day is guaranteed to be unforgettable.