Rare birds cause a flutter

A red-footed falcon, only the third recorded on the Isle of May. (Picture by David Kinchin-Smith.)
A red-footed falcon, only the third recorded on the Isle of May. (Picture by David Kinchin-Smith.)

Bad weather last week might have kept boats and two-legged visitors away from the Isle of May but the nature reserve staff have been welcoming some rare feathered travellers.

As well as some common migrant birds, the arrival of a juvenile Honey Buzzard was the first to cause a flutter of excitement. Only the seventh to be recorded on the island, it did not stay long and soon headed for the Lothian coastline.

However, on Monday the eagle-eyed staff spotted a Red-footed Falcon, the first to be seen since 1973 and only the third recorded on the May.

“Over the last few days a noticeable arrival of raptors, presumably from Scandinavia, had arrived on the May including up to eight Kestrels and topped off by the juvenile Honey Buzzard,” reported Scottish Natural Heritage reserve manager David Steel.

“However, that was all eclipsed when the juvenile Red-footed Falcon was discovered hawking insects at the south end of the island. The bird has remained on the island since and has showed well to all those admiring this rare eastern visitor.”

Other unusual visitors have included a Yellow-browed Warbler all the way from Siberia, a Wryneck, Common Rosefinch, Wheatears, warblers and thrushes.