Winter Wanderers

Tuesday 27th November comments: Over the last two months the Isle of May has been dominated by Grey Seals with not a seabird in sight. Our breeding birds are long gone but we often get asked the question; where are the seabirds at this time of year? Well let’s explain…

The entire Puffin population departed in August and have not touched land since. These small hardy seabirds are out in the North Sea, off northern Scotland or out into the North Atlantic and will remain at sea until next March regardless of the weather (now that is some existence). Our other Auks; Guillemots and Razorbills winter locally in the North Sea but will return to the islands cliff tops throughout the winter (which is currently being researched).

Kittiwakes are another which head off far and wide with many of our adults wintering off Greenland whilst our Shags and Eiders are two of the species which generally winter around the island. However the prize for the longest travellers belongs to our Terns with Common and Sandwich Terns wintering off West Africa whilst our Arctic Terns go even further….but more on that tomorrow…

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