Sunday 24th April comments: The season continues to advance as we welcome another seabird species to this years egg laying collection; the Guillemot.  

Guillemots are a member of the Auk family (which include Puffins and Razorbills) and are a common species in the U.K. Guillemots are chocolate brown and white (Razorbills are black and white) and have a very upright posture due to the position of their legs (the legs are at the back of their bodies as these birds are designed for swimming rather than being on land). Interestingly between 4-5% of the islands birds have a white spectacles around their eyes, known as ‘bridled’ Guillemots.

The first Guillemots started arriving on the cliffs of the Isle of May in late March (but also had been in attendance for short periods during the winter) as they prepared for a new breeding season. The species does not breed until it is at least four years old and they do not build a nest structure, as they lay a single large egg and incubate on their feet. Both sexes will help incubate and as colonial nesters, neighbours will help defend against predators. So it’s going to be a busy time on the island as parents will be incubating and many more will follow over the next few weeks. Despite this, we still have many seabirds still to lay and some have even yet to return, like the Terns, so it’s going to be a busy few weeks ahead…

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