Seabird safari to the Isle of May

The Isle of May National Nature Reserve is currently teeming with seabirds so, to celebrate, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is hosting a seabird safari and all are invited. The privately operated boat services have been subsidised for children by SNH for this special day, while entry to the island is free.

The trip, on Sunday 19 June, will involve seeing the spectacular seabird colonies on the island and learning more about the lives of the birds. Puffins can be seen close up on the island and the huge cliffs hold guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars and shags, which can be seen from the boat and from viewpoints on the island.

Dave Pickett, SNH’s Isle of May reserve manager, said: “The sights, sounds and smells of a seabird colony are special things that everyone should experience once in their lifetime and the Isle of May is one of the best places to do it. Many people know of the Isle of May or see the island everyday but haven’t yet visited. We hope that some of them will take this opportunity to come and see what a special place it really is.

”The Isle of May has such a concentration of seabirds that researchers have been using it to study the seabirds for the past 40 years. Much of what we know today about seabirds was first learned on the island and this Seabird Safari Day is a chance for visitors to make their own discoveries.”

The bird colonies are only part of the attraction of this island. The May has a fascinating collection of archaeological sites, shipwrecks and lighthouses. It is also home to seals, which breed there in the autumn. As well as a series of themed visits throughout the year, focussing on different aspects of the island, people can visit the island on the regular boat services between Easter and 30 September and it is free, although the private boat operators charge for trips to the island.

The seabird safari sailings to the island will be on the privately operated May Princess from Anstruther harbour, leaving at 8.30am and returning at 1.00pm, as well as the Scottish Seabird Centre boat from North Berwick. As SNH is subsidising the cost of the boat trip for children for this event, tickets are expected to go quickly. Tickets for the day must be booked in advance with either of the two boat operators running boats to the Isle of May.

To book with Anstruther Pleasure Cruises, who operate the May Princess from Anstruther, see the website, email info@isleofmayferry.com or phone 01333 311808. The Scottish Seabird Centre boat runs from North Berwick, for more information see their website or phone 01620 890202.

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