The deluxe version hide!
View from the hide –you can just about make out a front on the water surface.
It isn't all about birds on the Isle of May, Evelyn Philpott tells of her research project below:
"I’m a new addition to the community of researchers on the Isle of May this summer. I’m a PhD student from the University of Aberdeen studying the interactions between seabirds and oceanographic variables in a tidal stream off the south of the Isle of May to inform the potential deployment of a tidal energy turbine.
Due to climate change and the push to reduce CO2 emissions, different methods of extracting energy from renewable sources are under development. The Scottish government has a target of meeting 31% of energy needs from renewable sources this year and up to 80% in 2020. Last year the figure was 27% so they are well on their way. Tidal energy is one of the sources of renewable energy the Scottish government is keen to pursue as there is vast tidal resource in Scottish waters. Tidal energy is a very new industry and there are many unknowns. For example we don’t know how birds and marine mammals are going to be affected by these devices. Potential impacts are collision risk and disturbance but also indirect impacts such as redistribution of prey species. One of the aims of this project is trying to determine if a small scale tidal device placed off the Isle of May would have ‘significant effects ‘ on the conservation objectives of the NATURA site. Also the Isle of May is an ideal site to promote small scale renewable energy production. The aim is to replace diesel usage on the island and make the island self sufficient in terms of energy supply.
So to start with I need to understand how the seabirds are using the site as it is before a turbine is deployed and relate their at sea behaviour to the local bio-physical data. I have a hide overlooking the southern end of the Isle of May and carry out observations in calm weather conditions and record counts and behaviours of seabirds on the water. At the same time I have some equipment moored about 500m from the coast recording water temperature throughout the water column, current speed, current direction, salinity, and chlorophyll levels. I also have a C-POD which logs the echolocation clicks of porpoises and dolphins.
So far this season has gotten off to a bumpy start given the breezy weather conditions. My hide has managed to survive the storm thankfully and I’m hoping the next few days of calm weather will let me get started in earnest."
24th May 2011