On Saturday we carried out our first black guillemot survey by walking the clifftops shortly after sunrise and counting the number of individual black guillemots we could see. Altogether we counted 28 birds, five on the reserve and 23 off the reserve. With their black bodies, distinctive white patches and vivid red feet they are easy to distinguish from their relatives, the guillemot and razorbill, both of which are also visible around the reserve with guillemot in particular becoming more of a regular feature on the cliffs.
Black guillemot - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Guillemot - Photo credit: Rob Conn
All three eggs have now been laid by the shag nesting below the foghorn and viewable on the screens in the RSPB visitor centre. The third egg was laid on Sunday, six days after the first with the second being laid on Thursday. There are also many other shag that are nesting on the cliffs below the lighthouse and along the western facing cliffs.
Gannet are becoming more frequent and in larger numbers as they fly close by the Mull of Galloway and fulmar are easily viewed from the cliffs just off the reserve. Kittiwake are spending more time on the cliffs or rafting on the water nearby. Other gulls including herring gull, great black-backed gull and lesser black-backed gull have all been seen this week.
Gannet - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Fulmar - Photo credit: Rob Conn
On Saturday we had our first house martin pass over the reserve but no others have been seen since. Swallow continue to be seen each day and both meadow pipit and rock pipit are very visible all around the Mull of Galloway.
A juvenile peregrine has been seen most days as has a kestrel. Goldfinch can often be seen visiting the feeders at the RSPB visitor centre and both a male and female stonechat are spending a lot of time to the side of the centre on or near the drystane wall. Pied wagtail are commonly seen around the lighthouse complex and down in the willow bushes there has been goldcrest. Roe deer and brown hare are also seen most days.
Roe deer - Photo credit: Rob Conn
This Wednesday is the first of our 'Seabird Spectacular' guided walks to see the wildlife that lives around the reserve. For more information click here
For information on visiting the lighthouse exhibition or climbing the lighthouse tower click here
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