Report 475
Isle of May seabird studies in 2005-2015
(2005-2015)
Newell, M., Harris, M.P., Burthe, S., Mackley, E., Quinn, L., Kortan, D., Skene, A., Wanless, S. & Daunt, F.
The Seabird Monitoring Programme has established a UK and Ireland-wide network of colonies in which seabird numbers and breeding success are monitored regularly.

Summary

 

The Seabird Monitoring Programme has established a UK and Ireland-wide network of colonies in which seabird numbers and breeding success are monitored regularly. Additional parameters, such as survival, phenology and chick diet, are more time consuming to measure but provide important information on the state of seabird populations and the health of the wider marine environment.

 

In order to collect this important, yet time consuming data, four 'Key Site' colonies have been targeted for more detailed monitoring of breeding performance, annual survival rates and feeding ecology.  These sites are geographically spread in order to give as full coverage as possible of British waters.  These sites are:

  • Skomer Island (Wales);
  • Isle of May (eastern Scotland;
  • Isle of Canna (western Scotland); and
  • Fair Isle (northern Scotland).

Each year, those contracted to carry out the Key Site data collection submit an Annual Report to JNCC documenting the findings of the year’s seabird breeding season.

 

Isle of May

 

The Isle of May is located in the north of the outer Firth of Forth, approximately 8km off the coast of mainland Scotland. The island is owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve. The island is protected as part of the Forth Islands Special Protection Area due to the large numbers of seabirds and seals breeding here each year. During the height of the breeding season, over 200,000 seabirds of 14 species nest on the island, including puffins, black-legged kittiwakes, razorbills, common guillemots, shags, fulmars, and various species of tern and gull.

 

Since 1973, the Long-Term Study on the Isle of May has been carried out by the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology (CEH, formerly known as ITE). The study has grown so that today it is the most data-rich and complex study of its type in Europe. Since 1986, JNCC has funded CEH to continue data collection of numbers, breeding success, adult survival, and chick food at the Isle of May as one of the Seabird Monitoring Programme’s Key Sites.

 

 
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Please cite as: Newell, M., Harris, M.P., Burthe, S., Mackley, E., Quinn, L., Kortan, D., Skene, A., Wanless, S. & Daunt, F., (2005-2015), Isle of May seabird studies in 2005-2015, JNCC Report 475