Owl time

Sunday 12th January comments: The Isle of May is very quiet at the moment. The last of the Grey Seals have departed the breeding grounds, small numbers of seabirds linger on the peripheries to utilise the island to roost whilst mice and rabbits roam the plateaus. The majority of the migrant birds have long departed leaving a handful of robins and wrens to winter.

However that is not all. The Isle of May in recent years has become an important over-wintering site as its free from disturbance with plenty of hunting habitat but most importantly of all, it has plenty of prey; the island mice. The Island  supports a good population of mice and the owls start arriving in the autumn, as birds escape the cold winters of Scandinavia and beyond. These birds make the island their home and will successfully overwinter before heading back off to northern breeding grounds in the early spring.

Its great to have them on the island and each winter has fluctuating numbers (the winter of 2015 had an impressive 24) but normally 4-6 overwinter. We’ll wait to visit the island in the near future before confirming this years numbers but one thing is for sure, its not safe to be a mouse on the Isle of May!

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