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 year 2014 marked another significant milestone for the Scottish WTE population, it being considered now large enough, that funding into the project as a whole was considerably reduced. This has resulted in the reduction of paid contract workers, and so now, information on territories is being gathered by an increasing band of volunteers. Despite this growing army of locals, however, information has been hard to get for some. In 2014 Skye and Lochalsh was thought to have approximately 22 territories, an increase of five over last year’s figure. Many of the five ‘new’ ones were probably in existence last year but did not breed, and were therefore difficult to pin down - or if they did breed they escaped notice completely. RSPB did fund myself as a contract ringer in mid June with the intention of continuing to fit colour rings to as many nestlings as possible. So, in all, six broods were ringed, totalling nine young. However, the local RSPB officer is certain that possibly up to four other Skye territories fledged young from nests that were not located, or were known to exist but inadequately covered. Range expansion now means that WTEs are now at last breeding on the Sleat peninsula; one territory was successful with one other making an unsuccessful breeding attempt.
The change in funding and monitoring policy means that from 2014 WTE information is being collected and collated by the various Raptor Study Groups throughout Scotland, in the same way that these groups have been doing for years for the other Scottish Raptors. I am the current WTE coordinator for the Highland Group is and worked as a RSPB Skye contract worker between 1997 and 2005 and have been a contract ringer since then. More volunteers are needed, but interested parties should be aware that many of these territories are both very time consuming and quite challenging to get good information from. So anyone wishing to help should be sure of having a significant amount of free time to commit. For more information contact me at /p>
Phil Knott is giving a talk on the Moths and Butterflies of Skye at 7.30pm on Tuesday 27th March in Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Sleat, on behalf of Sleat Community Trust Environment Group - all welcome
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.