ISLE OF MAY FACTS

Bird Watching (UK) - - Seabird Special Scotland -

Home to some 250,000 seabirds, the Isle of May sits on the eastern end of the Firth of Forth, some six miles off the East Neuk of Fife. As such, it is one of the best lo­ca­tions to take a bird­ing trip in the UK – there’s even a bird ob­ser­va­tory, and you can book and stay on the is­land for a week to re­ally ex­plore it. Owned and run by Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage, the is­land is the sub­ject of an ex­cel­lent blog, run by David from the is­land, where you can fol­low what’s hap­pen­ing (see panel, right) The Isle of May is reached by two ways, either by boat from An­struther from the north or by high speed rib in­flat­able from North Ber­wick from the south. You will need a packed lunch and weath­er­proofs for the cross­ing, and there are toi­lets on the is­land close to the land­ing stage. Gan­nets from the Bass are eas­ily spot­ted as are Shag, Eider, and Oys­ter­catcher over the wa­ter and nearby is­lands. Since 1956, the is­land has been a Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve and is now run by Scot­tish Na­tional Her­itage. The rib cross­ing takes about 30 min­utes and is an ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self as you are no more than a cou­ple of feet above the wa­ter. The spec­ta­cle of Gan­nets, Puffins, Guillemots, Ful­mars and Ra­zor­bills fly­ing along­side you – and look­ing you in the eye – is more than mem­o­rable. You also stop at the Bass for about 10 min­utes on your way, to get a re­ally close look at the birds and ex­pe­ri­ence them div­ing around you.

We caught and ringed a very early Storm Pe­trel in June and an adult Roseate Tern ar­rived in the jetty roost. We also had the news of our re­cent Sand­wich Tern breed­ing

Puffins are an ab­so­lute de­light to watch

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