A beautiful evening, with sunshine and no wind! Only two participants - come on out there you know you want to see Puffins, and we did - at least 6 on the cliffs. Lots of eggs in evidence as well - Guillemots covering up, but unfortunately a couple of predated eggs on the cliff top, and we watched a Herring Gull take and eat another egg
Despite the cold, 5 people came on my first Puffin walk of the season - two French Tourists plus an American exchange teacher and her two friends / supporters. All wanted to see Puffins above everything else. Despite the gloomy thoughts following the major wreck of Puffins in the past month, we had brilliant views of up to 20 birds doing things that neither I nor Vicky have seen before - including pulling up beakfuls of grass to line their nest burrows. Pairs were "billing", lots of action on the cliffs. Get down here and enjoy
I had my first trip of the year down to Fowlsheugh on Thursday, despite the absolutely howling wind it was nice to get back on the cliffs again and see the first of the seabirds heading back in to their nest sites.
We were down for the day with the RSPB Aberdeenshire Local Group, who were helping us get the reserve ready for the season, painting benches and signs, repairing the gateway at the reserve entrance and cutting the gorse back along the footpath. We also got a chance to meet up with the regular volunteers who will be helping with guided walks and generally being on site suring the season to chat to visitors about seabirds. If you want to come on a guided Pick Out A Puffin Walk this year, check the main Fowlsheugh page for the times and dates.
I also got my first look at the new bridge which has caused the wardens so many headaches over the winter. Looking at the space where the old bridge was and how much of the bank had been washed away it was pretty easy to see why this wasn't as easy a job as it had first looked. The new bridge is now safe to cross, the handrail and final touches should be done soon. As you can see from the photo, the boardwalk across the muddy section of the stream bank needs to be moved to line up with the new bridge so it's worth wearing a decent pair of boots if you're walking the reserve at the moment.
Bird-wise we did manage to catch sight of the odd Puffin, although we'll have to wait and see if the deaths at sea this winter have badly affected the breeding birds. The cliffs are definitely filling up with Kittiwake, Razorbill and Guillemot and several very handsome pairs of Fulmar on the cliff tops and Vicky saw around 10 Bottle-nose Dolphin passing south of the reserve at the end of last week.
After a few days of very hard work, the bridge repairs at Fowlsheugh have been completed and the reserve is now open as normal.
The wardens have been putting in a lot of hard work, hampered by the weather, the ground conditions and the lack of power at the site to recharge drill batteries etc., It's taken slightly longer than we first thought so thanks for bearing with us while we made the stream crossing safe again. We'll hopefully post a full blog with some pictures of the repair work and the latest seabird news in the next few days.
After the recent storms and high winds there has been quite a significant amount of damage to the steps and one of the footbridges at Fowlsheugh. We're decided to close the reserve until we can repair the damage and make the path safe for visitors again.
Replacing the footbridge will be quite a major job so the reserve may be closed for a few weeks. It will be open again well in advance of the seabird season so no one will miss out on seeing the reserve at its best. If you were planning on visiting in the next few weeks then please check the website for the latest news and pay attention to any signs on the reserve warning of the closure.
Path at Fowlsheugh before the storms.