Sunday 23rd June comments: It’s that time of year when we can reveal the results of our population counts here on the Isle of May. Today we start with the Auks; Razorbills and Guillemots. Probably the hardest to count as both lay their eggs directly onto the cliff face meaning we have to count all the individual birds. This entails slowly scanning the cliffs face finding sneaky Razorbills incubating in a hidden crevice or counting large areas where the Guillemots gather in their hundreds.
After some totting up and calculations we can say that both have increased from last year. Razorbills have risen by 11% to 4,166 pairs and the second highest count (the highest 4,713 pairs in 2005). The Guillemots have increased by 7% to 15,974 pairs. It is great to see these increasing following a decline last season.
At the moment both species are busily feeding chicks, getti ng them big and strong before they begin to fledge, well “jump”, from the cliffs in a couple of weeks times. Although some are still just hatching and yesterday I saw a young Razorbill that had just emerged and still wet. The parent was preening the youngster getting rid of the left over membrane and bonding. All in all an exciting time here on the Isle of May!