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.
To those interested in wildlife the name John Chester and the Island of Eigg go hand in hand, although he is perhaps better known to visitors and locals as 'John the Bird'. John is the ultimate "patch watcher" and his knowledge through the seasons on this much-loved hebridean island is unsurpassed. John is the Scottish Wildlife Trust warden on Eigg, the SWT getting involved as a partner in the original island buy-out. John's first annual report was produced in 1986 and over the years they have added to his library of knowledge culminating in this new guide, a fitting tribute to one man's work and dedication, supported by the local community. There have been many ornithological highlights including Bridled Tern in 1993, Golden Oriole in 1994 and Red-breasted Flycatcher in 1997. More recently, Glossy Ibis and Woodlark have been the stars. This well illustrated guide comprises an extremely valuable checklist, with lots of information and many humorous anecdotes. It will be a must for those who enjoy their birding in the west Highlands, and will encourage many to visit this wonderful and thriving hebridean gem. The guide is published by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust and is available from http://www.isleofeigg.net/the_bird_book.html The cost is £12 including p&p and all proceeds from the sale will go towards woodland improvement projects.
Corncrake time again! The Isle of Coll corncrakes began arriving back from their wintering grounds in the Congo basin in mid-April – normal dates for Coll. We usually get the first reports on Skye toward the end of April although last year they waited until 2nd May to get going.
We had 31 calling males on the island last year, mainly on Waternish and Trotternish although they do show up on other parts of the island. Crofts are their preferred habitat and it's recommended to listen from roadsides. Please don’t go into the meadows as this year’s grasses are just starting to grow now. The very repetitive, rasping call of the male corncrake is best heard at late at night but they do call through the day too. If you hear a corncrake (day or night!) I would really appreciate a call or please pass the information onto Bob at Skye-birds.com. All reports from Skye Birds visitors will be really helpful for me with the annual RSPB count of corncrakes on Skye.
All reports are greatly appreciated either through this website or directly to Shelagh Parlane on 01470 582498 01470 582498 or 07771545409.
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.