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.
Many of our small offshore islands are rarely visited so I am extremely grateful to David Steventon of the Shiants Auk Ringing Group for reports following visits to these island groups off the Trotternish coast. The Fladaigh Chuain group includes The Cleats, Gearran Island, Am Bord and Thon Eilean, were visited on July 1 2012 but had also been visited the previous year. Eilean Trodday was visited on June 24 2012. In 2011 a total of 250 young Arctic Terns were ringed on Fladaigh Chuain but this had significantly reduced in 2012 with only 8 young birds ringed and only 22 nests observed. A total of 24 species were recorded on the Fladaigh Chuain group with evidence of 14 species breeding. There were two territorial pairs of Great Skuas and evidence of breeding was found on Eilean Trodday where two pairs were also found including a nest with a chick. Confirmed breeding of this species is still scarce in the area. Only 10 breeding species were recorded on Trodday and due to the topography, little evidence of breeding seabirds. Amongst the more unusual records were 3 rabbits, two black and a grey, on Fladaigh Chuain, presumably survivors from some introduction in the distant past. Very grateful to David and the Shiants Auk Ringing Group for their information. All the data has been entered on the Seabird Monitoring Programme database: http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/smp/
Its been a pretty grey day on Skye and I've been trying to put to bed my section of the 2011 Highland Bird Report. Just arrived to brighten up my day is John Chester's Isle of Eigg Bird Report for 2012!! Congratulations to John for not wasting any time, apparently helped by a few days stormbound in Mallaig.
A total of 142 species were recorded on the island in 2012, one more than in 2011 & a new record for Eigg. As happens every year a few reasonably regular species failed to appear with omissions from the 2012 list including Barnacle Goose, Sandwich Tern &, surprisingly, Wigeon. Two new species were however added to the island list; Glossy Ibis & Snow Goose though the latter were undoubtedly feral birds. The number of species breeding during 2012 was also high with 72 species known to have bred & at least two further species attempting to do so. John's report will shortly be available on the Isle of Eigg website - http://www.isleofeigg.net/
The Highland Bird Report 2014, published by Highland Branch of the SOC has just been published. The majority of the records submitted to this website are forwarded for compilation into this report, which represents all the records which have been accepted as occurring in the Highland recording area. Skye and Lochalsh district is part of this region and the report contains a summary of the highlights for the district. There is also a summary of records from Lochaber which includes the Small Isles. Sean Morris from Rum has compiled this summary and we regularly carry records from the Small Isles and Morar. Please contact me if you need a copy as I have a few available at £9 or £11 including postage.