Sunday 7th February comments: the wind direction and wind strength has altered very little over the last 24 hours as the east coast of the U.K. is being battered by a series of easterly winds. These strong winds have plummeted temperatures with sub-zero chill factors alongside heavy seas (big swell’s and big waves). These turbulent seas make it difficult for seabirds to forage and the low temperatures can be the difference between life and death as weaker seabirds will perish. If it continues for a decent length of time, then all birds will be at risk.
For those interested we take our facts from a variety of means including the Shipping Forecast which is issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (the Isle of May is in the Forth shipping area). We also gain vital information from the wave buoy near the island which is managed by Cefas which beams back data of the current situation.
Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science) are a government agency of Defra and are the world leading experts in marine and freshwater science. As part of their work they have a series of strategic wave monitoring networks around the U.K. which provides a single source of real-time wave data from a network of wave buoys. There is one of these buoys just east of the Isle of May which gives us the data and we can see the current situation. Check out their website for more details: http://wavenet.cefas.co.uk/Map
So we are hoping for some change soon, a change in wind direction to allow calmer seas and give the opportunity for seabirds to feed. It’s challenging times at present and lets hope it passes. If anyone has found any seabirds dead along beaches and the birds are ringed, please check out recent blog posts as we’d love to hear from you.