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.
Shieldaig Community and the RSPB have applied to the RBS Community Force Awards for funding towards a programme of projects that involves developing and producing white-tailed eagle education materials, employing an education officer, training community volunteers to monitor white-tailed eagles and developing resources for community members, tourists and volunteers to help them understand and enjoy these magnificent birds. The resources will be available across Wester Ross and Skye. You can help make these projects happen by visiting the following link and voting for this project at http://communityforce.rbs.co.uk/project/951. Voting is open now so please take a look at the web page and give your support. Each person can have three votes. The project with the most votes in each area will be awarded funding up to a maximum of £6,000.
As with the 2010 Skye corncrake survey, this year’s survey benefited greatly from reports we received through Skye Birds. We know that corncrakes prefer to breed on land which is actively crofted but having information on how long they stay in a particular area, and having some idea of their calling patterns can tell us quite a lot about suitable habitat on Skye and possible breeding attempts. Between late April and August we received records of calling males from 40 different locations on Skye and 1 from Lochalsh. However, due to wet and windy weather conditions at the end of May, only 23 different calling locations were counted during the official survey. The maximum number of calling males counted on a single night was 16.
Shelagh Parlane, RSPB Isle of Skye
This is an exciting time for birding with thousands of birds migrating south from their breeding grounds. During good weather with high pressure systems many of these birds simply overfly Skye, or are offshore and we never see them. Our recent weather systems have brought a steady trickle of interestings waders and wildfowl and a general pattern has emerged on this part of the west coast that birds will hang around for a few days before moving on, and there is an opportunity to see them. This was the case yesterday when Martin Benson and I popped over on the Mallaig ferry to see the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Traigh. This has amazingly turned up in the same field where one was found by Stephen MacDonald on the same date - 8th September, in 2005 - at that time only the 2nd record for the Highland recording area. 'Patch' watching has its rewards. Though we seem to have missed out on to-day's gale it has already brought in a number of rarities further south and this is certainly a time to check out for anything unusual and to have a special look along our shores, lochs and flooded fields. Bad weather may not always be good for birds, but it can be good for birding.
The annual bird report for Highland for the year 2016 has just been published by Highland Branch SOC. Many of the records contained in this website are included in the report. Sean Morris from Rum wrote the Lochaber summary in the report and ‘yours truly’ wrote the Skye and Lochalsh summary. Several colour images have been reproduced and include several from Bob and Martin Benson. I have a small number of copies available at £9, otherwise contact Highland Branch SOC at www.highlandbirds.scot.