One of the highlights of a visit to the Mull of Galloway is experiencing the vocal and visual display of large numbers of seabirds nesting on the cliffs.
Guillemots and razorbills make up the largest percentage of seabirds that breed on the Mull of Galloway. Their chicks that spend the first few weeks of their lives developing on the bare, exposed rock faces eventually have to make a leap of faith and leave the cliffs. At around three weeks old, and unable to fly the young birds, referred to as jumplings, throw themselves from ledges and glide out on to the water where they will eventually learn to fly and fend for themselves. The vast majority of our young guillemots and razorbills have now jumped and the cliffs are becoming barer.
Guillemot chick (Laura Shearer)
There are however plenty of kittiwakes still nesting on the cliffs and should be with us for a few weeks yet. If visiting the Mull of Galloway you can see plenty of the chicks from the comfort of the RSPB Visitor Centre via our cliff side camera, alternatively, just ask one of the RSPB team where best to get views from.
Other seabirds that can frequently be seen include shags, black guillemots, and gannets.
Puffins continue to be seen in small numbers and a few less common visitors that have been seen recently include oystercatchers, a grey heron and a great skua!
Great skua - (Andy Hay rspb-images.com)
On the heath, meadow pipits continue to be seen carrying food for their recent fledglings that can be heard calling out pleadingly. Wheatears, swallows, pied wagtails, stonechats, goldfinches and linnets can also be seen around the heath along with house martins. Swifts have also been seen frequently as they manoeuvre with extraordinary skill as they catch insects in the air.
Other birds that have been recorded this week include ravens, kestrels, a sparrowhawk and a peregrine falcon.
Raven (Chris Gomersall rspb-images.com)
Porpoise, seals, lion's mane jellyfish, moon jellyfish and even tope (a fish belonging to the shark family) have all been seen in the water from various viewpoints.
Other wildlife sightings include roe deer, brown hares, rose chafer beetles and a wide variety of bees, butterflies and hoverflies.
Hi Rob, thanks for link - and must say Gordan Buchanan is one of the best, always produces top footage. My comment was done a bit 'tongue-in-cheek' but with a genuine aim just the same (sure both Laura and you know that already). People have been asking me about my volunteering at Mull of Galloway and good to show them something along with a description. Did find few clips on YouTube but of varying quality or usefulness. See you soon. D
Sorry no stock photos of the chicks actually jumping but here is a link to some BBC footage you might enjoy - www.bbc.co.uk/.../p007yyky
Hi Rob, are there shots (stock images even) of Guillemot 'jumplings' making their leap. "C'mon Laura get a snapping!" Looking forward to my return to site and connecting directly with all and happenings there . All the best, D
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654