Wader Wonderland

 

Sunday 26th July comments: In wildlife terms we are starting to slowly and surely see a change on the Isle of May as the seabird breeding season is drawing to a close. Many successful parents are fledging chicks all across the island and within the next 4-5 weeks the seabird season will be officially closed. However we have also notice change elsewhere as since early July various wading birds have started arriving on the island as they have already started heading south (its that time of year already).

The Isle of May is ideally placed on the migration routes of several wader species which are starting to head south. These birds are either non-breeders or failed breeders from the far north (they breed in the high arctic tundra) and use the May as a staging post to feed, rest and roost before moving on. The island is ideal as it is relatively free from disturbance, has plenty of good rocky shoreline for them to feed amongst and is generally safe from predators (no ground predators and very few raptors).

Since early July we’ve had Purple Sandpipers and Turnstone daily with Redshank, Curlew and Whimbrel all very evident around the island. A few days ago our high tide wader counts revealed a good number at roost including: 2 Knot, 110 Turnstone, 37 Purple Sandpiper, 14 Redshank, Common Sandpiper, 35 Curlew and Whimbrel. So it just shows you the value of the May to all aspects of birdlife and soon we’ll be taking a closer look at other migrant birds which use the place, but more on that later.

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