Monday, 26 September 2016

The migrant birds continue to come through. One of our volunteers, Fran, had great view of 4 Lapland buntings up near the lighthouse yesterday along with more common sightings like wheatear. I don't have a photo of one myself, so have borrowed this one off the net to give you the gist. Liza.

Friday, 23 September 2016

So, today is the first day of autumn, being the day after the equinox. We've had a fair few migrants passing through over the last few weeks, always a sign of autumn: pied wagtails, wheatears, various warblers and tits and there have been flocks, or should I say charms, of goldfinch around too. These beautiful birds have been feasting on the thistle heads and on the knapweed in the Rangers' Office garden too. They are pretty mobile birds, but I did manage to get a wee snap of them. We've not had anything terribly unusual come through on migration, but we have had a yellow-browed warbler or two, which is nice. Liza.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

This year's State of Nature Report was published earlier this month. This link gives you a useful summary but also links to the full report and the separate ones for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Liza.,4HB87,39H4VD,GJOF6,1

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Today was a momentous day - the day of the official launch of St Abbs Independent Lifeboat - less than a year after the RNLI decided to take their lifeboat away from the village. The weather was perfect, and the village was buzzing with people who had come from near and far to see the launch. A brilliant day.  Liza.

The Thomas Tunnock leaves the cradle officially for the first time.

Showing off the vessel's capabilities to the crowd - and why not!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Yesterday I was at a training day on wildlife crime - interesting stuff., if a little difficult to stomach at times. We covered many things, including which forms of trapping are legal, and which aren't - the trap shown in the photo, a Larsen trap, is legal. Liza.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Today Lindsay Mackinlay, one of the NTS's Nature Conservation Advisors, came for a site visit. He came to discuss various things, but also, as he is trained and licenced to do so, he also checked our bat boxes whilst he was here.

Usually checking bat boxes involves finding a lot of cobwebs, some poo (of which a sample is taken and sent away for DNA analysis to ID the species), and maybe the odd birds nest, but little else. But today he found a bat roosting in one box, very exciting, and even got a photo! Lindsay identified it as a Pipistrelle but we will have to wait to see what the DNA analysis of its poo tells us before we know if it is a common or a soprano pipistrelle (the only other way to tell is by the frequency of the echolocation call). Here's a few photos. Liza.

Checking the box at the office - nothing, not even poo!
Down by the Mire Loch we were more lucky with this wee Pipistrelle in one box.
This box was empty, but there's lots of evidence of bats being in it recently - notice the grease stain in the top left of the box - this came of a bat's fur, and plenty of fresh poo at the bottom of the box.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

It's not just our human visitors who have been enjoying the fantastic sun we've been having here at St. Abb's Head. The rabbits on the slopes of Kirk Hill have been taking the opportunity to relax and do some sun-bathing too.  Lizy

European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus

Sunday, 4 September 2016

If you happen to be walking around the Mire Loch and hear an incessant, high pitched begging call coming from the water, then you've probably found our brood of Little Grebes. This is the second brood on the Mire Loch this year, with another brood of a single chick recorded earlier in the summer. Young Little Grebes are attractive beasts, striped black and white on the head with bright orange/yellow beaks. Although this is normally a small, and quiet bird which can be difficult to see, these chicks are not shy about advertising their presence, and as the adults are constantly busy collecting fish and invertebrates to feed them, they are easy to spot at this time of year.  Lizy

Little Grebe chick Tachybaptus ruficollis

Adult Little Grebe feeding chick

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The minke whales were showing well at the Head again this morning. That's a fair few mornings in a row, so if you want to see them, I suggest you get up there as this is your best chance! Look out where the birds are feeding as they are all after the same thing - fish! In fact, this morning one of the local creel fishermen was up there too catching fish (I would guess mackerel) to bait his creels with. This morning there were a whole load of seals hauled out on the rocks just below the lighthouse too, singing and snorting - also an unusual occurrence at the Head, believe it or not. Liza.

All the drainage work is now complete at Starney Bay so the area has gone back to being its usual peaceful place to be. We have put some stone on the disturbed area of path so that it doesn't get muddy when the rains come. We have also cordoned of the disturbed area near the cliff edge to let it settle and maybe green over a wee bit before autumn hits. Thanks for bearing with us, let's hope its solved the issue. Liza.