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.
Over a month ago I wrote a blog saying there was little sign of spring. Though a few summer migrants have arrived we are still waiting for a major rush and with temperatures forecast below 10C and northerly winds set for a few days, it is proving to be the latest spring since we started this website. The image shows a Willow Warbler foraging for insects on the high tide line at Loch Slapin and that is fairly typical of the scene. Swallows and Cuckoos have still to reach many corners of Skye and garden feeders still seem to be extremely busy with Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers recorded at times when they should be starting nesting, and even a pair of Blackcap on fatballs - everything indicating a shortage of insects in their natural habitat. Colder weather brings a higher risk of mortality especially for birds in poor condition after long migrations. Late springs also mean shorter breeding seasons and less chance of multiple broods, so important in keeping numbers up. Some northern migrants such as Redwings are still trickling through and in such conditions, there is always a chance that birds might remain and breed, so worth keeping an eye open. Lots of migrants have still to arrive so keep recording.
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.