ISLE OF MAY FACTS
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