Seabird Centre


North Berwick Harbour
North Berwick Harbour

I draw Craigleith, the bird island three quarters of a mile to the north of North Berwick from the rocky promontory at the end of the harbour. I’m waiting for the catamaran to return from its lunchtime trip around the Bass Rock because on this morning’s trip I dropped my lens cap. Luckily when the boat returns, the crew have spotted it; they say that I’ll find it listed on eBay!

Bass Rock from the catamaranIn the Scottish Seabird Centre you can watch the seabirds by operating remote control webcams overlooking colonies on Craigleith, Fidra, the Bass Rock and the Isle of May.

plaiceI can’t see many fish in the large salt water aquarium in the Centre, not until it’s feeding time. Three plaice rise up from what looked like a vacant patch of sand; they’d been there in front of me for the last ten minutes and I’d never spotted them.

wrasseLike the freshwater stickleback, the male corkwing wrasse builds a nest, persuades the female to lay her eggs in it and then guards and tends the eggs until they hatch. In my sketch I’ve missed two key features of this wrasse: a dark patch behind the eye and a black spot on the tail.

scorpion fishThe long-spined stickleback or scorpion fish is well-camouflaged as it rests amongst rocks and seaweeds.

Link: Scottish Seabird Centre webcams


Bass Rock

  • Bass Rock

I go for the seat at the edge of the boat on our seabird cruise around the Bass Rock because I want to try out my new telephoto lens but as the catamaran picks up speed on the way there I have to hastily put my non-waterproof Olympus OM-D E-M10II under my coat and revert to the Olympus Tough, but all the sea birds were photographed with the Olympus, with its 40-150mm zoom lens.

Trying to catch gannets in flight was tricky with the limited field of view that you get with a telephoto especially as the boat was bobbing up and down but by cropping in to some of the photographs I’ve been able to get a few close ups. The built in five-way image stabilisation has worked well, even in these challenging conditions.