A summer visitor to Scotland with regular sightings on Pladda and Arran.
They are strongly migratory birds, seeing two summers each year as they journey from the Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic coast and back again. Arctic Terns are long-lived birds, eating mainly small fish and small marine invertebrates.
5cm x 12cm
Its striking black and white plumage and bright red feet make it easy to identify in summer. They are the only members of the ank family that breed on Arran, preferring low-lying stretches of rocky coasts to hide their nests. There are a number of breeding colonies on Arran. One of these is at Brodick Pier, so as you make your way to and from the ferry, have a look around the harbour- you might just spot them!
5.5cm x 11.5cm
Present around the coast of Arran from July to March. It is a small gull, being social, quarrelsome and noisy, often found in small groups or flocks. The black headed gull is a bold and opportunistic, eating insects, fish, seeds, worms, scraps, carrion and invertebrates. They breed in large reed beds, marshes or islands in lakes.
6cm x 12.5cm
An excellent swimmer and diver, pursuing its prey underwater, eating mostly fish, insects and crustaceans. They nest on the waters edge. It prefers to escape danger by diving rather than flying, reserving flight exclusively for migration. An occasional winter visitor to Arran, it was last sighted in Whiting Bay.
Cm x cm
These streamlined diving birds sit low in the water and dive with consummate ease. Like all divers, it is a specialist fish-eater, able to submerge for lengthy periods to catch prey, catching insects, crustaceans and amphibians. It is a passing migrant in autumn, making Arran a site of natural importance for the bird. There have been sightings in Whiting Bay, Machrie Bay and Drumadoon.
6cm x 11cm
With a wing-span of 180cm, Gannets are a familiar sight around the coasts of Arran as they plunge dive from up to 40m above the water to a depth of 15m in pursuit of fish. This method of hunting is spectacular, particularly when a group of Gannet attack a shoal of fish. The nearest colony to Arran is Ailsa Craig, which is one of the largest colonies in the world. They are around the coast of Arran all year, but most common in summer.
7cm x 10.5cm
Grey seals feed on a wide range of fish species, and also take crustaceans, cephalopods and the occasional seabird. When feeding they typically dive to depths of 30 to 70 metres. In autumn females congregate at traditional pupping sites, called rookeries. At birth the pups weigh 14 kilograms, but as the mother's milk contains 60 percent fat, they rapidly put on weight and develop the blubber layer essential for maintaining body temperature when at sea. The pups are born with a creamy white natal coat and stay in the rookery surviving on their blubber reserves until after the moult, they then go to sea and may disperse over large distances. Seals can be found basking on rocks on the Arran coastline all year round.
5cm x 8.5cm