Spring in the tail

Top: male Bluethroat

2nd row: Red-backed Shrike (Hannah Greetham)

3rd row: Icterine Warbler (left) and Spotted Flycatcher (right)

4th row: Bird Obs team (left) and Wheatear (right)

Thursday 9th June comments: The Isle of May is a significant wildlife location for important populations of seabirds and Grey Seals. However it’s also an important place for bird migration as thousands of birds will use it like a service station on their log journeys. Birds will stop over to refuel and rest before moving on, hence why Scotland oldest bird observatory was founded in 1934 and still runs to this day.

As we stick six miles out in the North Sea we often get more than our fair share along with more unusual and rare visitors. This spring we have had a quiet time, mainly as result of wrong weather conditions to bring the birds in or just not happening at the right time. However in the last 24 hours that all changed as the island welcomed some surprise visitors.

Starting the charge, an elusive Marsh Warbler was discovered singing in the bushes near the low Light, the 11th record in the last twenty years. Then followed more good birds as a more obliging Icterine Warbler was seen and later ringed whilst a stunning male Bluethroat arrived and could be seen in song display flight! As this was all happening, a female Red-backed Shrike landed near the bird observatory and a Cuckoo flew over. Add several other common migrants including Spotted Flycatchers, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers amongst others, it’s been a busy few days.


We suspect this will be the last of the spring migration as birds start settling on breeding grounds, but its been a busy, buzzy few days and its been fully appreciated by all those who live and work on here.    

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