7 Aug 2023
Welcome to Week 9 of our ranger round up. With just under a month left before our rangers finish for the summer our events schedule is as busy as ever. Take a look at what we have been up to this week, including a very wet summers day spent at St Abbs National Nature Reserve.
Marine Education Centre
We have had a very busy week at the Marine Education Centre in Eyemouth, with people of all ages being drawn to our lobster hatchery to learn all about our lobsters, from the juveniles to the berried adults. Our juvenile lobsters have been constantly growing, going from stage to stage by moulting hard exterior in order to grow. Our “smack” of craft jellyfish is now so large we have had to start finding new places to show off all our visitor’s hard work. We were also fortunate to have had our busiest day yet with over 90 visitors but we are still aiming higher, so come visit us in the Hippodrome in Eyemouth and help us break 100 visitors!
On a very rainy Wednesday we headed to St Abbs National Nature reserve to team up with our friends at the National Trust for Scotland, and St Abbs Marine Station to undertake a Bioblitz for 2023. A bioblitz is an overall count of everything in a specific area over a 24-hour period.
Early in the morning the rangers from the National Trust undertook a walk to try and identify as many species as they could before the day really kicked off. A moth trap which had been set out the night before was collected after having successfully collected dozens of different moth species.
The first activity of the day was a rockpool ramble down at St Abbs Harbour. The team, consisting of the BMR, St Abbs Marine Station and members of the public, took their time over the slippery rocks to find as many creatures as they could. From moon jellyfish to shore crabs we found a great variety of marine life despite the wet weather.
Joined by eager volunteers Sarah and Finlay headed out on a bird walk with Head Ranger Ciaran, while Seren headed up to the lighthouse to try and spot some of our resident marine mammals. While much of our nesting seabirds have hatched their young and left their nests for the season, we were still greeted by hundreds of remaining birds. Gannets could be seen utilising their impressive diving to hunt small shoals of fish, hitting the water at nearly 60 miles an hour. Kittiwakes and Guillemots could be spotted rafting out at sea, as they have raised their young and are heading back to the place where they are most at home, on the sea.
In the afternoon Sarah headed out with National Trust Scotland ranger David and volunteer Barbara on a bug hunt with a group of adventurous volunteers and one enthusiastic dog. It didn’t take long for our first finds to arrive in the form of snails and a caterpillar. We headed to the grassland above Starney Bay where we found spiders, beetles and flies, and had great fun sweep netting. We headed further round St Abbs Head and even the typical Scottish summer didn’t deter us from our quest. We found an amazing Devils coach horse beetle, plenty of caterpillars and even some interesting fungi. As the wind and rain continued our little explorers headed back for a warm drink, David, Barbara and Sarah headed into the woodland to see what other species could be added to the ever-growing list. We were well rewarded with day flying moths, woodlice and some cool looking bugs.
Even with the pretty extreme weather preventing us from seeing anything out at sea we had an amazing day and identified a grand total of 326 species over 499 observations, with some results still to come in. A big thank you to Lauren and Jordanna for organising this amazing event.
St Abbs Gala
Saturday saw us take to St Abbs Old School Cafe for the annual gala in support of the St Abbs lifeboat. Throughout the whole day we had a great opportunity to speak to some familiar faces and introduce ourselves to some new one’s, allowing us to showcase what the BMR stands for, its importance and how people are the essential core to how we run. Many jellyfish were crafted, nurdles hunted and with our little microscope we were able to showcase some of the smaller critters we find on our seaweeds. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the people that came and spoke to us (over 100), and show our gratitude to the gala organisers. A big thank you to the St Abbs lifeboat crew as well for their essential work and for keeping all along the Berwickshire Coast safe.
Sea Watch Sunday
Joined by our colleagues for the Nation Trust Scotland and some keen passers by Finlay took to Coldingham bay armed with a pair of binoculars and a sense of optimism to perform a Sea Watch cetacean survey. With a windy start to the morning things didn’t seem promising, however the team were quickly joined by a Minke whale. Our large blubbery friend stayed all afternoon and continued to feed for around three hours, joined in feeding by large flocks of birds, from diving gannets, to terns, and shags. These flocks of diving birds often prove invaluable for shorewatches, showing us where the fish are, and where the whales and dolphins are likely to be.
We had the pleasure of showing lots of people the minke and just what amazing creatures the BMR has to offer. If you would like to try your hand at a shorewatch you can join Finlay on Wednesday the 9th of August down on Coldingham bay. To sign up head to the events section of our facebook page, we hope to see you there.
Remember our Ruler of the Reserve Competition is still running on our Facebook and Instagram stories, cast your vote to decide which marine animal is the ruler of the BMR! We are also nearing the end of our Splash In Photography Competition, entries must be sent to email@example.com by 26th September, see our website for more information.