With our Firth of Forth Seabird Cruises over for another year, I caught up with Angela Newton, Seabird Cruise Co-ordinator, to find out how they went:
'2009 has proved to be yet another successful year for our seabird cruises. Over 1,200 passengers joined us onboard the MV Maid of the Forth for spectacular views of seabirds and other wildlife.
Nine 3-hour cruises were held between May and July - the best time to view seabirds breeding on the inner Forth Islands of Inchgarvie, Inchcolm, Inchkeith and Inchmickery.
We were blessed with fabulous weather, giving us perfect conditions for plenty of memorable wildlife viewing experiences!
Despite '09 being another poor year for breeding seabirds in many parts of Scotland, there was still plenty to see on the Firth of Forth - fluffy gull chicks on Inchgarvie, shag and cormorant chicks on Inchmickery, and crèches of eider chicks with their adult minders swimming in the sea around all the islands.
Passengers on one of the cruises were also treated to a rather unexpected, but brilliant, sight of a spoonbill on Inchcolm and on another, passengers were lucky enough to see a pod of Bottlenose dolphins. As you can imagine, this caused great excitement as everyone was eager to get a glimpse of them, without tipping the boat over!
We saw plenty of common and grey seals, gannets, common terns, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars, great skuas, a common scoter and manx shearwater, but the bird that everyone had come to see was, of course, the puffin and passengers weren't disappointed.
Plenty of these fabulous little birds were seen around the islands, much to the relief of our commentator ('I'll jump overboard if we don't see a puffin') who was once again saved from a dunking!
We had a great time showing everyone the wonderful wildlife of the Firth of Forth - see you again in 2010!'