Tens of thousands of Atlantic puffins return to the Isle of May National Nature Reserve each spring to breed and raise their young. Kittiwake chicks are born precocial (the young are relatively mature and have the ability to be mobile from the moment of birth) and are downy and white in colour. Isle of May Seabird Studies in 2004 2. Unlike Cormorants, Shags are exclusively coastal birds with very few venturing into fresh waters. Isle of May seabird studies in 2002 1 JNCC Report No. Tuesday 12th January comments: Today we continue our series on the breeding seabirds of the Isle of May and we take a close look at a real specialist; the Fulmar. More than 250 species rest here on their journeys north or south. This downy plumage will start to be replaced by feathering after just five days after hatching and it will take approximately thirty-five days to fledgling stage. ... contribute both to the UK MPA network and set up to protect habitat types and species considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds). In general, Fulmars have been doing well on the island although the population is fairly stable and is around the 300 pairs mark per year. Douglas (Athol Street/Victoria Street/Duke Street) 11. During this period numbers in the U.K declined by 38% to a current estimate of 350,000 pairs with the majority of them nesting on the northern and western islands. Anyone can take part, so if you are out and about along the coast (especially the east coast) with a pair binoculars, telescope or camera, check out the roosting Shags and spot the coloured rings. ... Inchmickery and McDermott's), while at others (e.g. Biological Conservation, 78, ... A before-and-after study on the Isle of May, southeast Scotland over a 23 year period (1975-1998) (Finney et al. Chicks are fed by partial regurgitation with the young putting their bill inside the parents mouth. Tomorrow we will reveal how well the Razorbill population is doing on the Isle of May with the results and the trends. The project is always looking to start new wildflower conservation schemes on the island, from the largest to the smallest area. Birds return to the cliff ledges in late winter before eventually settling in mid-April. The full island census revealed a total of 6,292 individual’s counted with an estimated 4,124 pairs nesting. Conservation status. The team behind the scenes work hard throughout the year to ensure the reserve progresses and maintains itself as one of the best in the country. Kittiwakes have a white head and body, grey back, grey wings tipped solid black (look like they have been dipped in ink) and a yellow bill. The following is a list of Special Areas of Conservation in Scotland.. Abhainn Clais An Eas and Allt a`Mhuilinn; Achnahaird; Airds Moss; Altnaharra; Amat Woods; Ardgour Pinewoods; Ardmeanach; Ardnamurchan Burns; Ardvar and Loch a`Mhuilinn Woodlands; Ascrib, Isay and Dunvegan; Ballochbuie; Bankhead Moss, Beith Surface Area 3.57 km 2 (1.38 mi. Douglas Promenades 10. While the Isle station has been vacant going back to the winter of 2019, Griffith now brings her years of work in criminal justice and a … Fulmars are a common nesting seabird in northern Europe with large populations in the Northern Atlantic from Canada to Russia which includes two varieties; the darker variety is the majority breeder in the high arctic, while the lighter variety is the predominant breeder further south. Although almost exclusively coastal they do breed along the River Tyne at Newcastle/Gateshead, the furthest inland breeding colony in the world (sorry as a Geordie myself had to get that in). Fulmars are part of the Shearwater and Petrel group, which also includes albatrosses. The distances from the Isle of May at which individuals were resighted during winter varied substantially, up to 486 km and 136 km north and south respectively. It also has a longish tail and yellow throat patch. If anything or anyone gets too close to Fulmars, they excrete a stomach oil which is sprayed out of their mouths which will mat the plumage of avian predators , which can lead to the predators death. In the classroom, students will take part in courses like Conservation Skills and Habitat Management. 2003) found that the breeding population of Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica increased from 3,000 to approximately 19,000 breeding pairs during a period of gull control (1972-89). A selection of Manx Wildflower seed is available from the Trust Wildlife Shop at Tynwald Mills. The island is owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a national nature reserve. St Marks Village 17. If you have an idea let us know and we will see if we can help. Shags are a medium sized bird approximately 68-78cm in height (27-31 inches) long and with a 95-110cm (37-43 inch) wingspan. Although seabirds have been struggling nationally, both the Razorbill and Guillemot have been bucking this trend with latest figures suggesting they are doing well. Douglas (Ballaquayle Road) 5. During the summer breeding adults and chicks are fitted with a unique colour ring with three digits; which makes it easy to read at distance with binoculars or telescopes. Friday 22nd January comments: Yesterday we introduced another of the island breeding species as we took a closer look at the Cormorant. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098562, 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands – Flanders Moss, Blawhorn Moss and Loch Lomond NNRs. Fulmars remain around the island for the majority of the year, only ever being really absent for a longer period between the end of the breeding season (late August) to mid-November when birds move far out into the North Sea. Now go find some colour rings…, As a follow up, Dr Francis Daunt shared a recent paper which was written regarding the ringing scheme on the Isle of May – you can find it here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098562. Fulmars started colonising the east coast of the UK in the 19th century and the first written account of the species on the Isle of May was in May 1914 with the first breeding pair noted in 1930. In the Isle of Man, there are 20 designated Conservation Areas. Cormorants forage by diving and capturing its prey in its beak and are benthic feeders which means they feed along the seabed. Razorbills are good swimmers and feed on fish but are known (seen annually on the Isle of May) to Kleptoparasitise; a method of stealing prey from other birds especially Puffins. The species also breeds in the Northern Pacific. A grey seal pup on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, one of Scottish Natural Heritage’s national nature reserves. One of our boat guides, Gavin McDougall, has created this special video using a GoPro. Thursday 21st January comments: We’ve introduced some great birds in our seabird series on the Isle of May and today we continue as we introduce the Cormorant (which is a welcome addition as it was confirmed breeding for only the first time on the island last year; but more on that later). The Isle of May in Scotland, where this photo was taken, has a strong breeding colony of Arctic Terns every summer – and it’s a delight to see them. Kirk Michael 19. The species shows sexual dimorphism as the males are approximately 10% larger and heavier than females. The Isle of May can have up to 2,000 seal pups in autumn and winter. Ramsey 20. 338 Isle of May seabird studies in 2002 L J Wilson, S Wanless, M P Harris & D Russell ... Joint Nature Conservation Committee Dunnet House 7 Thistle Place Aberdeen AB10 1UZ ISSN 0963-8091 . Tomorrow we’ll bring you news of how Shags are doing on the Isle of May and the national picture as we continue our series on seabirds. © Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough, PE1 1JYTel: 01733 562626 Fax: 01733 555948. The Isle of May Long-Term Study (IMLOTS) forms part of CEH’s network of long-term monitoring sites for detecting effects of environmental change, particularly climate change. Background The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) has a responsibility to advise on certain aspects of … Research on the Isle of May is hugely important and our friends at UKCEH have been studying the islands Shag population for a considerable amount of time. Today we are asking for your help in tracking these birds down if you find them dead or alive. Today we introduce the European Shag. From hatching it can take 50-53 days to fledge and family parties will stick together for a few weeks after this period. The Isle of May is also a convenient stopover for migrating birds. Based at CEH’s former site in Banchory, near Aberdeen, she led our long-term studies on the Isle of May from 1998-2007. During the winter months they’ll occupy the cliff ledges and by early spring, the new breeding season will have started. Like Guillemots, birds don’t build a nest structure but lay a single egg and incubate on their feet. Where are the Conservation Areas in the Isle of Man? The distances from the Isle of May at which individuals were resighted during winter varied substantially, up to 486 km and 136 km north and south respectively. Beyond the classroom, students gain valuable field experience via field investigations, site visits, guidance from site managers, and exposure to practical management techniques. Curlew Cry (Curlew) Curlews are classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN red list, with their population rapidly decreasing. Kittiwakes get their name from their call, a shrill ‘kittee-wa-aaake, kitte-wa-aaake’ (listen out for their calls when you next visit a colony). We’ve been focused on the cliff nesting species, starting with Guillemot followed by Razorbill, Fulmar, Shag and the latest was the Cormorant. She started working on a short-term contract basis for the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, a forerunner of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, in the early 1980s before becoming a full-time member of staff in 1998. If you find any or discover them as tideline corpses over the winter please report all sightings to: shags@ceh.ac.uk, It’s all part of the science and you’ll be making a valuable contribution to increasing our knowledge of this very special seabird. Once the egg is laid, they’ll then incubate for 49-53 days after which the young will hatch, usually in early July. Saturday 23rd January comments: Since early January we’ve been bringing you a series of blogs on the different bird species which nest on the Isle of May. It is included in the European network of Natura 2000 sites as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for ten bird species and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for breeding grey seals and rocky reefs. . The Kittiwake (also known as Black-legged Kittiwakes) are generally pelagic birds of the arctic and subarctic regions and can be found all across the northern coasts of the Atlantic. Both parents will incubate on average for 27 days before chicks hatch. In total, 3,797 resightings of 882 individuals were recorded over 622 km of coastline. 05380206. The species can be found all around the British Isles, the Faroe islands, Iceland, along the Norwegian coast and into Siberia, around the Iberian peninsula, north Africa, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The species can move some distances (more on that in the forthcoming days) but a good percentage of birds remain on the island all year, over-wintering on the island. Last year the full island census revealed some positive news as 495 pairs were counted nesting, an increase of 27% compared to 2019. They are also long living birds with records of individuals well beyond the age of 50. Fulmars are very specialist seabirds as they have a salt gland above the nasal passage which helps them excrete salt due to the high amount of ocean water that they take in. Study species and site. Like most seabirds, they are designed for a pelagic lifestyle, only ever coming ashore for the breeding season. When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered. In contrast, the national picture is a bit more glum as Fulmars are not doing that well with almost a third of the population has declined between 1986-2018. The Isle of May is so important for wildlife that it is protected by both European and national legislation. In 2017 we discovered a single pair on a nest on the north end of the Island and this was the first confirmed breeding for the Isle of May (it was suspected in the 18th century but it was not proven). This site is also referred to as a ‘European site’ (Regulation 10(1)). The Puffin is a medium sized auk Alcidae (350–600g) that breeds in the North Atlantic from France and the Gulf of Maine in the south to as far north as there is ice-free land, and that winters over vast areas of the North Atlantic and in the western Mediterranean [].Fair Isle (59°54′N, 01°62′W), Shetland, holds a population of Puffins that was … During the 2020 full island census, the Isle of May supported 324 nesting pairs, a 16% increase on the previous season’s total. The growing cycle is slow as can take 50+ days to fledgling with the first youngsters leaving the Isle of May in mid-August. What we now need is those sightings! ColbyPlease click on any of the … (2014) Site Fidelity and Individual Variation in Winter Location in Partially Migratory European Shags). An interactive wildlife adventure in North Berwick with Discovery Centre, gift shop, cafe and seasonal boat trips. Adults have noticeable white patches on the thighs and on the throat in the breeding season and it is larger than the European Shag, with a heavier build, thicker bill and lack of a crest. As a snap-shot the findings revealed that field resightings of colour-ringed adult European shags known to have bred on the Isle of May were followed to quantify individual variation and repeatability in winter location within and among three consecutive winters. As of Wednesday, Dec. 25, Victoria Griffith has stepped in as the Isle area’s new DNR conservation officer. A ‘European marine site’ is a ‘European site’ which is wholly or in part marine (Regulation 2(1)) and is hereafter referred to as a marine SAC. Cormorants are generally silent, but they make various guttural noises at their breeding colonies. Cormorants start nesting in April and will lay clutches of 3-5 eggs which are pale blue-green in colour. However this attempt failed at egg stage. We will continue our seabird introductions over the weekend as we will take a look at yet another species, so stay tuned! It’s not all good news for seabirds as we continue to look at the seabirds of the Isle of May…. for this site as submitted to Europe (PDF <100kb). Registered office as above, Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (11.3%). Monday 11th January comments: Our mini-series continues this week as we follow on from looking at both the Guillemot and Razorbill in a little bit more detail. Both sexes are identical in plumage although males can be slightly larger. Pairs will use the same nest site to breed year after year and the nest is generally made up of collected seaweed, sticks and other floating detritus from the sea. Today we introduce the Kittiwake. There have been a number of reasons for these drops, such as the algae toxin blooms in 1992 which dropped the Isle of May Shag population from 1,634 pairs to a dramatic 715 pairs the following year. Witness one of Scotland's most amazing natural spectacles, where seabirds cram onto the ledges of the Isle's towering cliffs and puffins peek out from their grassy burrows. Isle of May United Kingdom About Blog Isle of May is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage. The availability of nest sites, good breeding seasons and reasonable prey availability has helped the species increase in number with last year’s census counts revealing a new record population for the Isle of May. Wherever you are may you have a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year. However the populations of Shags on the island and nationally have been shown concerning declines over the last few decades. Standard Data Form Very recently a report on the ‘State of the UK’s birds 2020’ was published by the RSPB with support from several organisations including NatureScot giving long-term trends of many of our bird species. Razorbills have been one of the success stories of the Isle of May (and several other North Sea seabird colonies) as the population has been increasing year-on-year for a few decades. Glen Wyllin 18. This perilous number shows that there is so much more to be done for our seabirds as climate change and over-fishing are just some of the serious threats our seabirds face. A variety of wild birds nest on the Isle of May The raising of a rare chick on the Isle of May has been welcomed as a sign conservation efforts are working. The Isle of Man Government has not confirmed whether it will adopt the new bathing water standards for the end of 2015. Such high among-individual variation and within-individual repeatability, both within and among winters, could lead to substantial life history variation, and therefore influence population dynamics and future conservation management strategies (Grist H, Daunt F, Wanless S, Nelson EJ, Harris MP, et al. Parents can pair bond for life and the oldest Razorbill has reached the ripe old age of 51 years. Generally, the species is a dark metallic green/black with a yellow throat patch and during the breeding season displays a very elegant crest on its head (and hence how the species got it’s name). In total, 3,797 resightings of 882 individuals were recorded over 622 km of coastline. Douglas (Windsor Road) 7. Sunday 17th January comments: Yesterday we introduced the European Shag as p[art of the series on the seabirds of the Isle of May. Tuesday 19th January comments: Over the last few days we’ve continued our series of looking at the breeding seabirds of the Isle of May NNR. The group can sometimes be referred to as ‘tube noses’ because they have a tubular nostril on top of the bill. Tomorrow we’ll reveal what has been happening to Cormorants on the Isle of May and take a look at the national picture as it’s proving an interesting time for the species…. Designation date 1 January 2001. It is black and white (unlike the cholate brown and white of a Guillemot) with a distinctive white stripe across its face and a broad laterally compressed bill which gives the species its English name. Or grow your own Manx Wildflowers. Laxey 14. The Isle of May is located in the north of the outer Firth of Forth, approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) off the coast of mainland Scotland. However if you look at the longer term figures, this still remains a real concern as it wasn’t that long ago (the early 1990’s) when the island supported populations of over 1,600 pairs. Overall the national picture has revealed a decline of 37% in populations of European Shags between 1986-2018 to an estimate of 17,500 pairs. Challenges abound, including the threat of predators, squabbles over burrows and finding a mate. 1. Kittiwakes return to the cliffs of the Isle of May from mid-March and will build nests on a cliffside from late April/early May and lay 1-2 eggs (very occasionally three). Douglas (Little Switzerland) 4. More coming soon. Douglas (Selborne Drive) 6. The Razorbill have had similar success with 88% increases between 1986-2018 with an estimated population of 165,000 pairs. Tomorrow we’ll bring you the latest on the populations of Fulmars on the Isle of May as will they follow the trend of the Guillemot and Razorbill and show signs of increasing? The breeding season is usual compete by late July and birds will head out into the north Sea for the autumn and winter before returning the following spring. Eggs are incubated for between 28-31 days and chicks take up to 60 days to fledge from hatching. The Cormorant (also known as the Great Cormorant) is a large black bird which can vary in weight from 1.5kg-5.3kg (which is a considerable size for a bird!) For further information about bathing water sampling please contact the relevant authority; Jersey – Envprotection@gov.je Guernsey – info@gov.gg Isle of Man – enquiries@gov.im × An extremely rare seabird has raised its chick on the Isle of May this summer – a clear sign that conservation action on the national nature reserve is working. Douglas (Olympia) 8. 0. Assessment is needed of impacts on SACs and their qualifying and supporting habitats and species (e.g., sandeels) and subsequent indirect impacts (e.g., marine Isle of May SAC. The Isle of May, lying at the entrance to the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland, supports a breeding colony of grey seals Halichoerus grypus. Company no. Over the next few days we’ll take a close look at what has been happening to Kittiwakes both on the Isle of May and nationally (it’s not been a good time for the species) and also other interesting facts like where they go during the winter months. Contact us: Enquiry formJNCC SUPPORT CO. The island sits quiet in a cold North Sea awaiting the turn of the seasons and a new season for the bird observatory. The diet of the Fulmar ranges from fish offal, whale meat, crustaceans and even jelly fish (hence why plastic bags can be a problem for Fulmars). Anchored on the edge of the Firth of Forth, the Isle of May is a magical mix of seabirds, seals and smugglers. Nests are usually constructed on rocky ledges or small caves and they build untidy nests of seaweed, twigs and anything else they can drag into their nest structure (including dead birds!) Registered in England and Wales. Peel 21. Our recent focus has been on the European Shag as we looked at the breeding biology, identification and the trends in their populations over the last thirty years. Fulmars don’t start breeding until they are 6-7 years of age (which is old for any bird species) and will lay a single white egg on bare rock ledges or shallow depressions lined with plant material (usually the first eggs are found in mid-May on the island). This has increased over the years with only 1,508 pairs counted in 1990, so some very welcome increases along the way (and long may it continue!). So keep checking the blog for more info! Repeatability did not differ significantly between males and females or among different age classes, either within or among winters. Winter. We have featured the cliff nesters of Guillemot, Razorbills and Fulmars. Isle of May Bird Observatory Trust Available from: Stuart Rivers, Flat 8 (2F2), 10 Waverley Park, Edinburgh, EH8 8EU or by This email address is being protected from spambots. Onchan 15. The site is the largest east coast breeding colony of grey seals in Scotland and the fourth-largest breeding colony in the UK, contributing approximately 4.5% of annual UK pup production. Friday 11th December comments: The Isle of May is a fabulous National Nature Reserve owned and managed by NatureScot but it’s not all about seabirds, puffins and seals. However it was still below the 2017 breeding figure of 341 pairs and way short of the all-time record of 369 pairs on 2001. The species is smaller than its close relative the Cormorant which we’ll feature next on the blog. By late July large numbers of young can crèche together around the island. Today we bring you the news of what has been happening to the Shag population on the Isle of May and the national picture. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Kittiwakes eventually leave the Isle of May waters in September-October. There are two sub-species found in the U.K with the nominate race (P. c. carbo) and European race (P. c. sinensis). This data demonstrates that the focal shag population is partially migratory and moreover that individuals show highly repeatable variation in winter location and hence migration strategy across consecutive winters. Download the The study is partly funded by the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) as part of the Seabird Monitoring Programme. All Douglas overview Map 2. Best wishes of the season from all at the Isle of May Bird Observatory! They are generally long living (over 20 years) and are some of the deepest divers amongst the Cormorant family as they are benthic feeders (find their prey on the seabed) and have been recorded as diving as deep as 60-70 metre depths in search of prey. Tomorrow we’ll continue the series with news in how you can help report Shag movements, as we bring you some important citizen science. We hope this is the start of colonisation of the Isle of May and it will be interesting to see what happens this season. A Scottish five star visitor attraction with something for the whole family, whatever the weather. Today we bring you the last of the cliff-nesters before we move onto birds which nest on the island top. Long Craig and Isle of May) nesting became sporadic. The four pairs were nesting by mid-June and between them three nests were successful in fledging three young. The seabirds we have featured so far in the series (Guillemot, Razorbill and Fulmar) have shown increases or with a stable population. Historical background material on Castletown and Peel produced in May 1971 before the Conservation Area were designated. Kittiwakes reach sexual maturity at around 4–5 years old. 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