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.
Mike Cullen has sent several photographs of a Hooded Crow seemingly 'grooming' a black-faced lamb's ears and face, presumably in search of ticks. This has occurred in the last few days at Kinloch Camp Site, Dunvegan. None of the images showed the animal to be in any distress and there is no evidence of pecking. 'Hoodies' have a somewhat unenviable reputation when it comes to their impacts on livestock, especially on lambs. Could this be an instance where they are actually doing some good? Has anyone else seen this kind of behaviour?
Andy Stables has added - " I see starlings doing it all the time around Milovaig and I've also seen jackdaws doing it too. The sheep being pecked always seem to be in very good health but I wonder if the birds are taking blowfly larvae rather than ticks. Not much meat in a tick."
The Red-rumped Swallow seen at Talisker in June has now been accepted by the Scottish Birds Rarities Committee and has become No. 246 on the Skye List. There was an interesting history to this bird in that it was first seen on Sanday, Orkney on 9th June. It was then seen at Talisker by Steph and Ray Hamilton on 17th June. David and Christine Hammond saw and photographed the bird on 25th June though at the time were unaware of the significance of their observation. It was only when Ian Fulton saw and photographed the bird on 29th June that news of its presence broke, unfortunately too late for a couple of local twitchers! The story does not end there as there is a suggestion that the bird may belong to an eastern sub-species yet to be recorded in the UK. The record will now be assessed by the British Birds Rarities Committee and the British Ornithologist's Union Record Committee - dont expect a decision too soon!
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.