The Carl Zeiss Award has been running since 1991 and is presented for photograph(s) judged to have been the most instructive in the BBRC's assessment of rarities during the previous year. Ian Fulton's images of a Red-rumped Swallow at Talisker Bay, one of which is shown here, have won the award. As described in the blog of 8th November, 2011, Ian's images have allowed the bird to be confidently assigned to one of the migratory asian races, and thus make it potentially a first for the British list, a decision which remains pending. Ian will be presented with a pair of Zeiss binoculars at the British Bird-watching Fair next month.
My breeding study for Hen Harriers commenced in 2000 and since 2005 has concentrated in north central Skye where the population has averaged between 8-12 pairs. In 2011 we enjoyed relatively high productivity and a pair bred for the first time in Lochalsh. It was therefore extremely disappointing that only 5 pairs could be found this year, a pattern which was unfortunately shared by other raptor workers. Despite significant investment by English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage, and by the RSPB, there were no birds at Bowland in the north of England, and only one pair at the Langholm project. Apparently there were only two pairs in the whole of the south of Scotland which includes several SPA's (Special Protection Areas). Winter survival was clearly a major problem and weather may well have been a factor. Hen Harriers have always been widely persecuted and another theory is that sporting interests are systematically targetting the species at winter roost sites. Of the five pairs which bred in Skye, one pair failed on eggs though the reason was not established. Two pairs failed at the chick stage with fox predation being identified by the use of nest site cameras. The one bonus was that the remaining two pairs fledged three (see image) and five young successfully. Despite it not being a good vole year, there was clearly other prey availability no doubt helped by our protracted spell of good weather. My sincere thanks to everyone who has sent in records.
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.