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Old Friday 17th June 2005, 19:43   #1
Neil Grubb
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Any news on Shetland seabird breeding ?

I was very upset to read about the almost total failure of breeding colonies for certain seabirds on Fair Isle and the Shetlands last year. This was put down to low sandeel numbers, possibly due to changes in sea temperature. I was heartened to see the good feeding and breeding on the Farne Islands this year on Springwatch, but I don't know whether that means the same is true on Shetland. Has anyone any info about whether things will be better this year ?


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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 11:26   #2
Steve G
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The last I heard the early signs of disaster were evolving into onset of a late breeding season as a consequence of the bad late spring weather. Further south the situation on the Isle of May initially looked poor however it has been a late season here also & when I was there last week the picture looked much more rosy. Apart from Shags (seems the adult breeders have fared very badly overwinter) the terns, auks & kittiwakes look as if they will have a reasonable breeding season -though certainly not a vintage year & there appeared to be no shortage of sandeels of various sizes. Hopefully the same will apply further north, certainly it doesn't seem to be a repeat of last year.


Neil, you should take a trip to the May. There are daily sailings from Anstruther (80min drive from Forth Bridge- not far but roads slow) except on tuesdays with departure varying from around 9am to 14:30 depending on the tide. The boat trip takes nearly an hour either way & you get 3 hours on the island - phone -01333 310103 for sailing details or see : www.isleofmayferry.co.uk/ prices are Ģ15 per adult & Ģ7 for sprogs. If you fancy a trip go in the next few weeks as most of the young will fledge soon. Weekends are best booked in advance as the boat is often full. The photographic opportunities are great.
The May is now the largest SINGLE SITE Puffin colony in UK waters apparently with the current population estimate at 65,000 pairs.
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