Seabird Seafari in Firth of Forth

The small, uninhabited islands of the Firth of Forth provide vital habitats for large colonies of breeding seabirds.

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Isle of May is home to an incredible array of wildlife; more than 285 of bird species alone have been registered here. At the peak of the breeding season, the island provides home to about 250,000 seabirds including 45,000 pairs of Puffins. Other seabirds that breed on the island include Eiders, Fulmars, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Oystercatchers, Razorbills, Shags, and various species of Gulls and Turns. There are also more than 200 Gray seals on the rocky coast of the island. While Porpoise, Dolphin and odd Whale can be seen in the waters surrounding the island.

The island is 1.5 kilometers long, 0.5 kilometers wide with marked paths meandering at the top of the cliffs. Generally, the period between April and August is the best times to observe the seabirds. (For puffins, the earlier the better.) You can see seals all year round; however, autumn is when the large Grey seal colony breeds on the island. Whale spotting is possible from late July to September.

Boat trips to the Isle of May depart from Anstruther (Anstruther Pleasure Cruises and Osprey Anstruther) and North Berwick (Scottish Seabird Centre).

Bass Rock

Bass Rock is home to the world’s largest colony of Gannets with more than 150,000 specimens. The sight of the ledges of the towering cliffs heaving with the nesting birds is a jaw-dropping experience. Literally. Then you have to remember to close your mouth quickly; thousands of birds are flying above you.

Boat trips to the Isle of May depart from North Berwick (Scottish Seabird Centre).


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