Tuesday 7th September comments: The Isle of May is home to Scotland’s oldest bird observatory and the longest continuous running bird observatory in the British Isles. It originally started in September 1934 but closed soon after in the autumn of 1938 as the international situation became acute as World War approached. During the war years the Admiralty took control of the island and based themselves on their throughout the duration of the war (the island has a very fascinating war history).
However good news followed as on 13th April 1946 the observatory reopened and bird migration was once again studied through a combination of bird ringing and daily census. There was also some more positive news as the observatory moved into new accommodation; the Low Lighthouse cottage where it remains in the building to this day.
The observatory is now administered by a charitable trust (The Isle of May Bird Observatory and Field Station Trust) and manned by visiting volunteer observers between March and November (in a normal year). Members who stay on the island record all the migrant birds throughout the season and use the four specialist bird ringing catching traps known as Heligoland traps.
However on Sunday we welcomed the bird observatory trust committee who arranged an on-island-meeting all day meeting to enable everyone to see the latest work and discuss everything from Heligoland traps to vegetation management. The meeting proved to be very productive and it was great to get everyone together to help move forward with plans and thinking. Working together as island partners is very important and great to have likeminded people. For further details of the bird observatory work, check out their website: https://isleofmaybirdobs.org/