An event will be held on Rum next week to celebrate the Manx Shearwater. Highlight of the programme is a guided night walk onto the Cuillin to see the mountain-top underground colonies of these remarkable birds - a unique experience.
'The return of the ocean wanderers' is a day of bird-based activities on Saturday 7 April at the Rum National Nature Reserve.
Affectionately know as 'manxies', Manx Shearwaters nest in burrows high in the mountains on Rum, only returning to their holes at night. The birds spend the summer here, rearing their single chick before undertaking an incredible winter migration along the coast of South America to the Falkland Islands. Next season they'll then return to Rum by way of the African coast – a round trip of more than 13,000 miles. The island is home to almost one third of the world's population.
The day includes options of a boat trip spotting seabirds and other wildlife, plus a performance of 'Shearwater' which tells of the life of the birds through stories and songs (if you can imagine it).
The main event is a chance to meet the locals on a night time guided walk up to the Shearwater colonies on Hallival, the most accessible of the main Cuillin summits.
Reserve officer Lesley Watt of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), who has organised the day along with the Isle of Rum Community Trust, is encouraging people to make the ferry trip across from Mallaig.
'This is the first time we have run such an event and it's a great opportunity for people to visit Rum and find out more about these amazing birds' she said.
'The experience of being in the colony at night time is an unforgettable one. The shearwaters have a really eerie call, and the Vikings thought trolls made these calls; hence the name of one of Rum's mountains, Trollaval.'
Places are limited so advance booking is essential. For bookings or further info contact Lesley Watt by email or phone the reserve office on 01687 462026