May 26th   Leave a comment

As migration season tails away so the seabirds become the thing to look out for from Crail. The cold northerlies of the last two days have again resulted in the seabirds flying past Crail relatively close in to take advantage of the sheltering effect of the shore as they fly out of the Forth. Last night it was kittiwakes and arctic terns with the occasional small group of manx shearwaters coming past. This morning it was all puffins. The larger species like gannets are less affected but even they come closer. The adult gannets are incubating just now so the off duty birds are flying back and forth from Bass rock to feed themselves up after a long fast on the nest. They will range hundreds of kilometres – some going as far as Shetland – during these feeding journeys. Although it is mostly adults, there are plenty of sub-adult gannets around. They are easily recognisable by their mixed up and dirty looking plumage. Gannets take several years to become adults and as they get older they become more interested in a locating a future breeding site, so start to hang around a colony like Bass Rock for the summer. They also probably pick up cues on the best places to nest and feed that will help them when they eventually get to breed themselves: they will be looking for a mate as well.

A sub-adult gannet passing Crail - probably born 3 years ago.

A sub-adult gannet passing Crail – probably born 3 years ago.

Posted May 26, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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