My early morning coffee on the deck was interrupted by Keith Brockie coming past with a long-eared owl he had caught in the Top Trap. A long-eared owl is a very special bird to see in the hand, and a June bird is very rare, so rare that this one might be the first June bird for the Isle of May. According to the birds of Scotland spring migrating long-eared owls maybe Scandinavian birds moving back to breed after wintering in the UK or Scottish birds moving back to breeding territories. This bird, a female from its buffy underparts, was a slightly odd looking bird with partially moulted wings but was still an absolutely fantastic way to start the day. The Fluke Street residents were roused from their beds to see the bird being ringed resulting in an interesting mixture of attire not often seen in the ringing hut.
The pattern of the feathers is fabulous.
The day ended with some preparations for our seabird open day. We are extremely lucky to have singer/songwriter Karine Polwart and storyteller Claire McNicol performing in the South Horn at our open day on Sunday and they came over early to get a feel for and be inspired by the island and see the work we do out here. And so as a trial run we all meet down at the Horn when work was finished in the evening to test the acoustics. A dram or two was taken and with the wind huffing round the building and the gulls yakking, we listened to fabulous stories and magical songs. It was just one of those evenings that I will remember for the rest of my life.
And just to say that the rest of the day was pretty good as well. We are lucky.