Sunday, 22 June 2014

Seabird Spectacular...

We are now in the middle of the busy seabird season here at St Abb’s Head. Most of our species now have eggs or young (some are even beginning to fledge). See below for a short account of what each species is getting up to at the moment?

Herring Gull
An early nesting species with many nests already containing medium sized chicks.

Another early nesting species with the majority of Shag nests now containing young (some quite large). Fledging imminent.  

Some birds still have eggs although the majority have now hatched. The first jumplings* are already taking to the water.

*Jumplings. At 18-37 days old Guillemot and Razorbill chicks will leap from our vast cliffs to the safety of the sea below. At this stage they have not developed flight feathers and some birds will inevitably misjudge the leap and hit the rocks below. Jumplings are surprisingly hardy and bouncy but a few do succumb to the hungry Herring Gulls. Chicks usually jump under the cover of dusk.
As Guillemots but slightly later. Again many birds have eggs and chicks. Expect jumplings* late June early July.

Guillemot and Razorbill

Many of these solitary nesters are now on eggs. These birds will spend more than 50 days incubating eggs with a further 50 days before chicks fledge. Expect chicks early July.

The first eggs were discovered on the 30th May and the first chicks were found on the 18th of June. Chicks are still relatively small but growing fast with currently abundant food.
Kittiwakes, set for a better season than last.
It's not all about the seabirds though... Our Cygnets are growing by the day on the Mire Loch.

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