Sunday 30th May comments: As we are now approaching a new month, we reflect on the seabird breeding season and bring you up to speed with the general picture of what is happening across the colonies on the isle of may
Cliffs: The first Shag chicks hatched on 28th April and plenty of small young are now present across the island. The two cliff nesting Auks ; Guillemot and Razorbill are expecting the first young any day as both have been incubating since late April. Kittiwakes were first on eggs on 17th May but many adults are still nest building showing that the season will be protracted as usual. The small colony of Cormorants which colonised the island last year at the north end of the Isle are back and the populations appears to have increased with up to thirteen nests.
Island top: The first Puffin chicks hatched on 26th May but the vast majority are still incubating eggs. Both Arctic and Common Terns have now settled with more eggs discovered at the main colonies. One pair of Sandwich Terns have been seen landing at the Beacon colony, the traditional location for any nesting attempts. Elsewhere huge numbers of Eider ducks are now leaving, taking large crèches of ducklings towards the relative safety of the nearby mainland. The large Gulls are at various stages, with Great black-backed Gulls now with young, the first Herring Gull chick hatched today whilst we still await our first Lesser Black-backed Gull chick (any day soon). As for our Fulmars, it’s just the long sit and wait game as birds are now incubating their single egg and it can take up to 60 days to hatch!
So its all go and as we head into June it’s only going to get busier with more chicks, more adults feeding young and who knows what else! It’s always an exciting time on the Isle of May, so don’t miss out…