Our week on the Isle of May was like an oasis of calm in an otherwise frantic world. No traffic, pollution, television or stuff-to-do. Just a few like-minded friends, the natural environment and the birds. Very refreshing.
Puffins and Terns may have been the stars of the avian show, but here are a few of the other breeding species. I like the Shag's green eyes. It is smaller and less reptilian in appearance than its larger cousin the Cormorant. It is red listed as vulnerable because over half the population is found at fewer than 10 sites, one of which is here. They do not stray too far from home usually, which is why it was a pleasure to see one at Cabo de Gata in Spain last year.
Oystercatchers are very common birds in Scotland, inland as well as on the coast. They are quite photogenic in black, white and red.
The Island hosts large numbers of Razorbills. They generally stick to the steepest cliff faces and are usually in company with another of the auk family, the Guillemot. One particularly large, steep cliff face on the Island is known as "Seabird City". One can pass a very pleasant hour or two watching the hundreds of nesting birds coming and going here.
Eiders nest all round the island, choosing flat sites often some distance away from any water. One female was incubating eggs on the stone patio outside the door of our accommodation at "Low Light". They show no fear of us at all. Males do not appear to participate in the incubation of eggs or rearing of young. Very few males were evident on the Island, but there were many females with chicks.
Eiders are Britain's heaviest and fastest flying Ducks. They eat molluscs, mainly mussels which makes them unpopular with mussel farmers.
Rock Pipits are the only really resident small birds on the Island. Many other small species make appearances, Pied Wagtails and a few Barn Swallows may nest here, but the Rock Pipit is quite numerous.