Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

First gannet chicks spotted on Bass Rock

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The first gannet chicks of the breeding season have been spotted on Bass Rock off the east coast of Scotland.

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Birdwatchers have been keeping a keen eye on the rock, which lies in the Firth of Forth, and is the largest single island gannet colony in the world.

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The outcrop has entered a key period in the breeding season and will be home to about 150,000 gannets by July.

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The area is of international importance and in total serves as habitat for in the region of 500,000 seabirds.

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These include puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, shags and terns.

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Gannets are Britain's largest seabird, with a wing span of more than 6ft, and can live for more than 30 years.

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They have such good eyesight that they can spot schools of fish below the surface of the water and dive at speeds of up to 62mph.

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Bass Rock was formed 320 million years ago and is the remains of one of many active volcanoes in the area.

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It has been uninhabited since 1988 when the last lighthouse keeper departed, leaving it to the birds.

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