HIGHLY-PATHOGENIC avian flu has been officially confirmed among seabird species on another island nature reserve prompting growing concerns among conservationists.

The Isle of May and Noss National Nature Reserves have closed to public landings from Friday. 

On Thursday, it was confirmed that two sampled kittiwakes from the Isle of May died due to the current H5N1 strain of avian flu, which has had a devastating impact on Scotland's seabird colonies. 

The virus has spread across Shetland, Orkney, St Kilda, Lewis, St Abbs and Bass Rock. 

Great skuas or bonxies have been significantly impacted with many washing up on shore.

A statement by the Isle of May Nature Reserve read: "The sad news is not something unexpected as the death toll starts to mount as we realise we do have it in our colonies and now we can only hope it does not cause great damage."

Kittiwakes, which nest in the area from later April, have already suffered a 44 per cent drop in population over the past twenty years. 

The statement added that "this has been mirrored on colonies like the Isle of May". 

"So this latest issue is something our birds could do without. Our concerns continue to increase."

The reserve also warned that local boat operators are "paying a heavy price" after already being hit hard by pandemic closures. 

"The boat teams are an important part of the island family and we thank all the teams involved," a blog post added. "We will be back."

South of the border, nature reserves have also been closed off amid a significant number of dead birds being found. 

The Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast are the latest to put a temporary end to landing trips, which will come into effect on Sunday.

The islands are home to approximately 200,000 seabirds including guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and shags in addition to Arctic terns and puffins.