Corncrake time again! The Isle of Coll corncrakes began arriving back from their wintering grounds in the Congo basin in mid-April – normal dates for Coll. We usually get the first reports on Skye toward the end of April although last year they waited until 2nd May to get going.
We had 31 calling males on the island last year, mainly on Waternish and Trotternish although they do show up on other parts of the island. Crofts are their preferred habitat and it's recommended to listen from roadsides. Please don’t go into the meadows as this year’s grasses are just starting to grow now. The very repetitive, rasping call of the male corncrake is best heard at late at night but they do call through the day too. If you hear a corncrake (day or night!) I would really appreciate a call or please pass the information onto Bob at Skye-birds.com. All reports from Skye Birds visitors will be really helpful for me with the annual RSPB count of corncrakes on Skye.
All reports are greatly appreciated either through this website or directly to Shelagh Parlane on 01470 582498 01470 582498 or 07771545409.
Over a month ago I wrote a blog saying there was little sign of spring. Though a few summer migrants have arrived we are still waiting for a major rush and with temperatures forecast below 10C and northerly winds set for a few days, it is proving to be the latest spring since we started this website. The image shows a Willow Warbler foraging for insects on the high tide line at Loch Slapin and that is fairly typical of the scene. Swallows and Cuckoos have still to reach many corners of Skye and garden feeders still seem to be extremely busy with Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers recorded at times when they should be starting nesting, and even a pair of Blackcap on fatballs - everything indicating a shortage of insects in their natural habitat. Colder weather brings a higher risk of mortality especially for birds in poor condition after long migrations. Late springs also mean shorter breeding seasons and less chance of multiple broods, so important in keeping numbers up. Some northern migrants such as Redwings are still trickling through and in such conditions, there is always a chance that birds might remain and breed, so worth keeping an eye open. Lots of migrants have still to arrive so keep recording.
Identification and survey techniques for farm and croft birds at Drumbuie - 7.30am - 10am, followed by coffee and cake in Erbusaig ...and, a bacon roll if you're lucky! Led by Bob McMillan - meet at the Station Car Park
A great opportunity to visit the National Trust for Scotland owned Isle of Canna. Visit the Small Isle that has it all... unsurpassed views to the other Small Isles, Skye and the Western Isles, incredible wildlife and a rich cultural heritage. Sailing from Armadale onboard the ‘Western Isles’ Saturday 15th of June 2013 8.15am-6.00pm £25 (children £12) NON-MEMBERS WELCOME . Information & booking forms from the SW Ross Field Club Meetings Secretary: Rule Anderson, National Trust for Scotland, Kintail & Morvich, IV40 8HQ.
Tel: 01599 511231 E-mail: www.swrfc.org.uk
The Highland Bird Report for 2009 has just been published. Produced by the Highland Branch of the SOC the reports contains records of the 225 species recorded in the region in 2009. Three species were recorded for the first time - Red-rumped Swallow, River Warbler, and Sandhill Crane. There are 150 pages, with regional summaries (including Skye and Lochalsh), and a number of colour photographs. The website holds a small number of copies which are available at a cost of £8 ....or £10 including postage.