This page features current news and views from Skye and elsewhere. It will also provide an opportunity for others working locally to report research and results.
Garganey is an extremely attractive duck species which winters in southern Europe and Africa and migrates north to breed mainly in northern Europe and Russia. Scotland is at the western limits of its range and there was only a single record in Skye, with Baxter & Rintoul finding 4 males and 3 females at Loch Suardal, Dunvegan, on March 28th, 1943. Dr Evelyn Baxter and Miss Leonora Rintoul were leading figures in Scottish ornithology in the middle of the last century, recording widely and visiting Skye on several occasions. It was unusual for women to play such a prominent role in ornithology at that time but they were responsible for several ground breaking publications including the classic ‘The Birds of Scotland’ in 1953. Their Garganey find at Loch Suardal in 1943 has been the only record on Skye until April 27th this year, when a beautiful drake lingered for a few hours at the mouth of the Broadford River. It had taken 76 years for the 2nd record, and appropriately enough it was found by another woman, Diane Penman, a visitor from Fife.
Corncrake time again! The unmistakable ‘Crex Crex’ call of a male corncrake has been heard on the island in the last couple of days indicating their successful return from migration. This also triggers the start of the annual summer survey. Their repetitive and persistent calling is the male looking for a mate. If you hear or see a corncrake please can you contact me or Skye Birds, with the date, time and location that you heard or saw it. All reports from Skye Birds are extremely helpful with the summer survey which we carry out across the corncrake’s Scottish range.They nest on agricultural land and you are most likely to find them on the in-bye of crofts. These birds are extremely rare and vulnerable and it is important that you don’t disturb or approach them. Best way is to keep out of the meadows and stay on the roads. Good luck!
If you would like to know more about the work RSPB is doing on Skye for corncrakes please get in touch.
Thanks and have a great summer!
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