Wednesday, 3 August 2011
I'm back on and fired up after a bit of a break and of course things have been happening on the island and the seasons progressing.
Firstly since I have been away we have had rain, in fact yesterday it poured down literally all day.
This means several things, the island is greener than it has been all season, the ragwort and burdock are in flower offering colour and nectar to butterflies. At last the butterflies are appearing after having been battered by storms and starved by the frazzling of their food plants. Today there were loads of painted ladies, red admirals, small tortoiseshells in a frenzy of feeding.
Water means washing. Our well is filling up, the tanks are full, the shower ban lifted and washing machines fired up. This means that we smell better. This is a little tough on the seabird researchers who have all left for the year (like their birds) just as the water came back on but for those few left on it is good.
Most of the cliff nesting birds have left leaving just a few kittiwakes on the cliffs. There are good numbers of young kittiwakes on the wing, good news for a bird that has had a number of very poor breeding years recently.
Puffins are still present, many are on the sea just off the island but there are still adults frantically feeding chicks in burrows. And pufflings are still making their big first journey from the pitch black burrow to the wide open sea. Just after lunch today I found one in my kitchen. it has taken the wrong turn on the way out to the shore. This actually isn't the first puffin this season that has made it into my kitchen, three weeks ago one turned up after midnight and peered in a small end of season party that was going on. It looked on with surprise at the 8 islanders jumping around to Free Nelson Mandela by the Specials played at full volume (no neighbours to worry about) but was quickly caught and boxed to be released the next morning.
With fewer seabirds the island is entering into a tranquil phased, less frenetic that May and June before things start hotting up in September and October when the seal breeding season begins and the autumn bird migration hits full swing. This makes the island a beautiful, peaceful sanctuary away from the real life of the mainland for visitors coming over for 3 hours. But of course this is still the Isle of May so there is still plenty to see.