Storm Force

High winds and heavy seas smash into the west cliffs of the Isle of May

High winds and heavy seas smash into the west cliffs of the Isle of May

No escape for anything nesting low down

No escape for anything nesting low down

A shag escapes the scene but is almost pushed back

A shag escapes the scene but is almost pushed back

Pilgrims Haven and the Angel rock being hammered by the heavy sea

Pilgrims Haven and the Angel rock being hammered by the heavy sea

Cling on seabirds....

Cling on seabirds….

Saturday 6th June comments: Mother Nature is brutal at times and the last thing we needed at the height of the seabird breeding season was a storm. But today we got it. Following the brutal westerly winds last Tuesday we thought we had ‘turned the corner’ and summer had finally arrived. We were wrong.

Today the winds have reached severe gale force 9 resulting in high seas battering the west cliffs. Unfortunately most of our seabirds nest on the west cliffs and therefore very little escaped. Any low lying eggs or chicks which escaped last Tuesday’s storm were just haplessly washed off whilst those higher up will just have to hope the wind eases sooner rather than later.

It’s been a bad spell of weather and we’ve encountered some losses on the seabird cliffs, but with promise of more settled weather ahead, those that survive should have a much easier time. In the short-term its heart breaking as those who have lost young will now give up this season but seabirds are long living (the majority of species can live beyond twenty years) so one bad season won’t make or break them. However more frequent repeats in the forthcoming years would be most unwelcome…  better weather please?

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