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.

The Birds of Eigg

27th May 2013

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  The cost is £12 including p&p and all proceeds from the sale will go towards woodland improvement projects.

Corncrakes on Skye

3rd May 2013

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 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.

Shelagh Parlane


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. 

© 2019 Skye Birds