Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Lizy and I took our wee inflatable boat out yesterday afternoon in order to complete the whole colony count for shags and herring gulls; counting those birds that cannot be seen from land. It was perfect conditions for counting - flat calm and overcast, and we were just 5 minutes from finishing round at Petticowick when it started to absolutely bucket it down with rain. Hoping that such a downpour wouldn't last for long, we decided to hang around for a while, but we were wrong! After about half an hour, we were getting really quite cold and there was still no sign of it stopping so we had to admit defeat and head back for the harbour. I've never been out on the sea in those conditions before - every little ripple in the already flat calm sea was ironed out by the shear weight of the rain, and a mist formed over the surface where the rain drops were bouncing back up into the air. Stunning - but far to wet to chance getting a camera out. Here are a few other shots I took though. Liza.
The entrance to Piper's Cave - just to the west of Kirk Hill - a favourite nesting place for shags. Very undisturbed as you can't get into it unless you have a tiny wee boat like ours!

Inside Piper's Cave - its cold, and dark, and there are strange noises echoing around. But once your eyes get adjusted to the dark - its only the shags croaking away. There were 10 pairs in there this year.

Looking back out from the cave.

We hoped a view from the sea would give us a better idea of what was going on with the gannets on Foul Carr. Only one nest can be seen from land (the end of Nunnery Point), but we have regularly seen two other gannet's heads in amongst the sea of guillemots, and they are always in the same place. So we suspected that there were at least three nests - and I reckon we were right, although you can't actually see the nests under the higher two birds from sea level. I wonder if we will see the first ever gannet chicks at St Abb's Head this year?

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