Monday 9th March comments: The Isle of May is one of Scotland’s most important National Nature Reserves with internationally important seabirds nesting and supports the largest east coast Grey Seal colony. However it’s not just seabirds which make the ‘May’ special as it’s also a very important migration station for small passerine birds migrating north and south during the spring and autumn.
Thousands of birds will use the ‘May’ as a fuelling station as they migrate to and from the southern hemisphere. Everything from cuckoos to Willow Warblers will stop over as the island (sticking off the East Fife coastline) offers valuable food and shelter for these summer visitors (so acting as a service station!)
As part of this, the island is home to Scotland’s first and oldest continuously running bird observatory in the UK, having been founded in 1934 (and is based in the old ‘Low Light’). The observatory is run by the ‘Isle of May Bird Observatory and Field Station Trust and more information can be found here: http://www.isleofmaybirdobs.org
The observatory is manned by volunteers from March-November and thousands of birds are ringed as part of the continuous studies. Anyone visiting the May might be lucky enough to see their work in action or at least see the wonderfully named ‘Heligoland traps’ which are dotted across the islands and it all adds to the ‘make up’ of the isle of May.
I keep saying it, but it’s well worth a visit!