Wildlife calendar

January
January-pictorial-web
Shags, eiders, gulls, cormorants and peregrines are present. Winter shorebirds, such as turnstones, knot and purple sandpipers. Fulmars and guillemots on nest sites if the weather is good. The first gannets arrive back at the end of the month.
February
February-LC-pictorial-web
Eiders, gulls, cormorants and winter shorebirds such as turnstones, knot and people sandpipers. Gannets coming ashore in increasing numbers. Fulmars, razorbills and guillemots on nest sites if the weather is good. Shags and peregrines displaying.
March
March-LC-pictorial-web
Eiders, gulls, cormorants, fulmars, razorbills and guillemots more often on nest sites and displaying. Shags and cormorants start to lay eggs. Winter shorebirds such as turnstones, knot and purple sandpipers are still present. Gannets fully established on nest sites by the end of the month. Peregrine lay eggs at the end of the month and become more secretive over the next few months.
April
April-pictorial-web
Puffins return in large numbers and begin to nest. As the month progresses gannets, razorbills, guillemots, eiders, shags, cormorants and gulls lay eggs. The first shag chicks by the end of the month. Some winter shorebirds are still around.
May
May-pictorial-web
Around 500,000 seabirds are now present on the Forth islands, including 150,000 of gannets and 90,000 puffins. Kittiwakes and terns arrive back and begin nesting. Guillemots, razorbills, puffins, gannets, shags, cormorants, eiders, gulls and fulmars either on eggs or already have chicks. The last of the winter visitors depart northwards.
June
June-pictorial-web
This is the best month to see seabirds – all are now feeding chicks.
July
July-pictorial-web
The breeding seasons comes to a close for all species except gannets and fulmars. Guillemots and razorbills have gone to sea by mid-July: puffins almost all gone by the end of the month. Gannet chicks are at the large, fluffy-white stage. Shag juveniles form groups with adults. Fulmar chicks appear. Gull and tern chicks start to fledge.
August
August-pictorial-web
First winter visitors such as turnstones arrive back. Gannet chicks change from white to dark juvenile plumage. Kittiwake juveniles form flocks along with adults, heading out to sea by mid-month. Fulmar chicks fledged. Shags, eiders and gulls can be seen.
September
September-LC-pictorial-web
Many gannet chicks are fully fledged and start to leave for Africa. Winter visitor numbers increase. Eiders, shags, cormorants, gulls and peregrines are present.
October
Ocober-pictorial-web
Most gannets leave the Bass by the end of the month. Eiders, peregrines, shags, cormorants and gulls are present. Winter visitors such as knot, purple sandpipers and turnstones increase in number. Grey seal numbers start to build on the Isle of May for the breeding season – pups are born most days from the second week.
November
November-pictorial-web
Eiders, peregrines, shags, cormorants and gulls are present. Winter visitors such as knot, purple sandpipers and turnstones reach peak numbers. Grey seals start to pup on Craigleith. On the May, grey seal numbers peak at about 3,000 – pups are born most days. Pups born in October moult and are weaned.
December
December-pictorial-web
Eiders, peregrines, shags, cormorants and gulls in evidence, as well as knot, purple sandpipers and turnstones. First fulmars return after 3 months at sea. Grey seal numbers dwindle, but a few pups and adults are still around into late December.