Winter Seabirds

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winter-plumage Guillemot on the cliff ledges

 

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Returning in good numbers

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Shags sticking around

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Small numbers of Eider duck have returned

 

Tuesday 22nd November comments: Winter is a time of cold temperatures, heavy seas and short daylight hours and its this reason why many of our seabirds will depart the May and head elsewhere.

Whilst migratory passerines will move south, our seabirds take on a very different strategy which differs between species. Kittiwakes will head towards Greenland, Puffins into the North Atlantic, Arctic Terns to the pack-ice of the Antarctic and Sandwich Terns to West Africa. However some (hardy) birds will stick around…

The largest of them all; the Shag, will stick around in good numbers and roost on the island (we’ll be bringing you a blog soon on how you can help with sightings) whilst small numbers of Eiders will winter around the Isle.

Interestingly our Guillemots having been away for two months into the North Sea, are returning daily at present albeit for just an hour at dawn before heading back out to sea. These winter-plumage birds will return to cliff ledges occupied during the summer as the urge to establish and defend a good cliff ledge is far to strong, even in winter.

It all makes for fascinating viewing and its still impressive how each seabird picks a different strategy which works for them. The wonders of nature!

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