Birdwatchers have been keeping a keen eye on Bass Rock, the largest single island gannet colony in the world, as it enters a key period in the breeding season.

The first chick has just been spotted on the rock, which will be home to about 150,000 gannets by July.

Loading article content

Gannets usually return to the same mate and nest each year

The area is of international importance for seabirds and over the coming month it will be home to about 500,000 seabirds, including puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, shags and terns.

Birdwatchers can view the birds through interactive live cameras in the Scottish Seabird Centre's Discovery Centre in North Berwick.

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

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.

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

It has been uninhabited since 1988 when the last lighthouse keeper left.