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22 September, 2014

First seal pup arrives on Isle of May

The first seal pup of the season has made its appearance on the Isle of May national nature reserve, in time for Scottish Natural Heritage’s Homecoming weekend of 27 and 28 September.

The new arrival appeared on the afternoon of 18th September and was spotted by some lucky people who were visiting the island at the time.

David Pickett, SNH’s reserve manager on the Isle of May, said: “We’re so excited about the new-born seal pup. It is has arrived in time for our Homecoming Weekend and is in a good position for viewing through a telescope. So if you fancy a trip over to the May to check up on how this little chap is growing, you need to get booking a ticket!”

As well as looking at seal pups, the weekend offers a full programme of activities for visitors including storytelling sessions about the creatures, both real and mythical, that call the island home.

Seabird experts will have telescopes set up at viewpoints and there will be bird ringing demonstrations by members of the Isle of May Bird Observatory, giving a chance to see small migrant birds in the hand.

There will also be information about the East of Scotland sea eagle project, and Fife Council’s Biodiversity Officer, Alexa Tweddle will have news about wildlife surveys in which everyone can get involved.

Advance booking is advised.

It’s free to visit the nature reserve, but you must take a boat trip to reach the island. Sailings are on the privately-run May Princess or Osprey of Anstruther from the Anstruther Harbour or through the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.

Known locally as 'The May', this small island sits on the edge of the Firth of Forth. The island's importance for seabirds has drawn scientists to its shores for many years and the May is home to the oldest continuously running bird observatory in the UK. The May is also a regular haunt for grey seals, often seen lounging on the shoreline rocks. This island is a historical gem and it's been a place of pilgrimage for centuries with an early island monastery. The May was also the site of Scotland's very first lighthouse, built in 1636, while the current, castle-like lighthouse was designed by the engineer Robert Stevenson.


Notes to editors

The Isle of May is one of 47 national nature reserves in Scotland. These are special places that look after some of the best of Scotland’s nature on behalf of everyone who lives or visits Scotland, and they provide unique opportunities to visit, enjoy and learn more about Scotland’s nature. For more information, see

Contact information

Tony Wemyss

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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