Skye Birds - A Birding Guide to the Isle of Skye

The Skye-Birds Blog

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.

Wildlife Crime on Skye

27th March 2012

The image shows a dead Hen Harrier chick, one of a brood of five trampled into the ground at a Skye site in 2008.  At this time of the year, egg collectors are on the move and 'Operation Easter', a long running initiative by the police and RSPB to combat egg thieves swings into place.  Unfortunately this had not prevented clutches of Golden Eagle and other rare species being stolen in the area.  In the knowledge that Sea Eagles have been poisoned in neighbouring areas in previous years, and information that an adult White-tailed Eagle was shot on Skye at this time last year, it is a timely reminder that although incidents involving some of our iconic birds are rare on Skye and the west coast, they nonetheless occur, and everyone should be on their guard.  The investigation of such wildlife crimes is the responsibility of the police and the Northern Constabulary website provides the following advice should members of the public find anything suspicious:-

  • Do not disturb the scene by moving items or by walking about unnecessarily
  • Do not touch dead animals or birds if you suspect they may be poisoned baits or victims - most of the substances used are extremely dangerous and you may put yourself at risk
  • If possible video or photograph the scene, or make a rough sketch
  • Do not approach or remonstrate with any suspect
  • Write any vehicle registration numbers down - don't trust to memory
  • Contact the Police as soon as possible and ask to speak to a Wildlife Crime officer

Constable Ed Frazer is the local WCO and is based at Portree Police Station (01478612888).  Further information is available on the Partnership for Action on Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) website at


Glossy Ibis on Eigg

3rd March 2012

When Glossy Ibis turned up in the Laig area of Eigg on January 20 it was a significant surprise to locals as well as to the wider birdwatching community.  A single bird would have been interesting enough let alone a group which peaked at 7, but which remained at around 5 until they disappeared a couple of days ago on the 1st March.  Normally this species would be spending the winter in the south of Europe so their arrival was a bit of a surprise.  Winter records in Scotland are scarce and this is certainly the largest group recorded in winter.  A single bird was on Tiree on 21st February 1901.  The only other local record was one shot in Skye in November 1911 and records were much more frequent prior to 1950 than since.  The largest group involved 20 birds in Orkney in 1907 and it appears that this is the largest group recorded in Scotland since.  It was a real bonus for John Chester on Eigg and all the locals and my thanks to Brian Gardner for the use of his image.  I visited Eigg on 2nd March to try and see the birds but my reputation obviously went before me and they decided to leave!



Highland Bird Report 2017

Published by Highland Branch of the SOC, the 2017 report is now available at a cost of £9.  The report extends to 180 pages and contains a Skye and Lochalsh year summary provided by yours truly.  There are also several images in the publication from Martin Benson and myself. 

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