Tystie Time

Tystie (4) 3rd Marcha

Count the Black Guillemots! (well not all are black at this time of year and two of these birds Eiders!)

Tystie (3) 3rd March

Three Black Guillemots together (adult summer plumage bird asleep)


Tuesday 6th March comments: (Isle of May): The Black Guillemot is a species which does not breed on the Isle of May, as it is predominately a northern and western breeder in the British Isles. The nearest breeding populations to the Isle of May are found in Orkney and Shetland although numbers on the east coast are slowly increasing.

Interestingly it is often called a Tystie (an old Norse name from Shetland) which has stuck with British birdwatchers. Following the easterly storms of last week, birds were discovered sheltering in the lea of the west cliffs as a single bird appeared, soon increasing to three before peaking at six (the second highest ever count for the island). A full break down of last week’s records are shown below.

It also just shows how important the May is at all times of year in all weathers as these birds were taking shelter from the brutal ‘Beast from the East’. It’s also noticeable that as observer coverage increases, the island keeps on producing. We’re now into the new-year and spring is just around the corner, now what will that bring…

Black Guillemot records last week:

Mon 26th Feb:                         1 moulting adult

Thurs 1st March:         3 (2 adults in winter-plumage and a first-winter)

Fri 2nd March:             3 (2 adults in winter-plumage and first-winter)

Sat 3rd March:             6 (1 summer plumage adult, 3 winter-plumage and 2 first-winter)

Sun 4th March:            3+

On Sunday we departed the island so it would have been interesting to see if these birds had of continued to linger… hopefully we’ll find out on our next visit.

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