Scotland’s national conservation and education charity, the Scottish Seabird Centre is celebrating the arrival of the first of this season’s gannets on the Bass Rock.
The gannets have been spotted circling the rock in North Berwick for several weeks but, they have finally been seen landing on the island by Seabird Centre guide and gannet expert, Maggie Sheddan.
Visitors to the centre will be able to see the new arrivals through the Discovery Centre’s interactive remote viewing cameras when it reopens to the public in April.
This sighting is a significant milestone in the start of the breeding season on the Firth of Forth islands. The area is of international importance for breeding seabirds with over 500,000 nesting on the islands, including puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, shags and terns.
Scotland is home to around 60% of the world’s population of Northern gannets (Morus bassanus) and the Bass Rock is the world’s largest colony.
Maggie Sheddan, Bass Rock guide for the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: ‘The gannets have been around since early January with likely fleeting landings on the North side, but last weekend activity increased, with many birds spotted swooping low across the rock. It’s fantastic to see them back and we look forward to seeing thousands more returning in the coming weeks.’
The Scottish Seabird Centre’s interactive live cameras are located on the Firth of Forth islands, including the Bass Rock. Visitors to the Centre can use them to zoom in on a range of wildlife, without any disturbance to the animals.
Boat trips around the Bass Rock will start from Monday 1st April and the Seabird Centre plans to re-open, following the first phase of their refurbishment, later that week.
For more information or to book a boat trip, visit seabird.org.