The weather has typically been very changeable this week with thick fog hanging over us most of the weekend, but today it has cleared and finally the sun has come back out, or at least partially made an appearance.

On switching on our live cameras in the visitor centre today we were delighted to see the first egg from our pair of shag that nest below the foghorn! Shag tend to lay three eggs over the course of a few days but begin incubation immediately, therefore the chicks tend to hatch within a day or two of each other. Incubation takes around 30 days so we expect the first chick to hatch on or around the 8th of May and be visible for visitors to see on the screens in the visitor centre.

Shag with egg – photo credit: Rob Conn

Nesting has also been progressing for meadow pipit and stonechat, with both species regularly being seen gathering nesting material.

Meadow pipit  – photo credit: Rob Conn

Our first confirmed sighting of a swallow was on 5th April, a whole week earlier than last year. Since then they have become frequent visitors, swooping over the heath.

A raven continues to call and display most morning out in front of the visitor centre and a pair of reed bunting have been seen down in the willow bushes. Kestrel can be seen most days hunting around the reserve and goldfinch have become regulars back at the feeders at the rear of the visitor centre. A goldcrest has been hanging around down in the gorse bushes and pied wagtail remain a frequent sighting around the lighthouse area whilst wheatear are more common near Foxes Rattle.

A red throated diver in winter plumage was seen near the foghorn on Sunday and kittiwake have been building in numbers and spending more time on the cliffs. Guillemot and razorbill are mainly seen on the water, particularly in the bay adjacent to the Gallie Craig Rock which is also a good place to keep an eye out for fulmar. Black guillemot are best spotted early in the day and can be seen around most of the eastern or southern edges. Gannet are best viewed from the foghorn or the side of the lighthouse as they pass by on their way to or from Big Scare. Porpoise and grey seal have also been frequent sightings this week.

Red throated diver in winter plumage – photo credit: Rob Conn

Other wildlife that has been seen include roe deer, brown hare and there have been signs of badger activity with a freshly used latrine appearing not far from the visitor centre.