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.
Fair Isle is the prime migration hotspot in Scotland and its long been an ambition to visit. A bird observatory converted from former naval huts, was established in 1948, a far cry from the new building and accommodation block established in recent years. Midway between Orkney and Shetland the island is well placed to receive stray migrant birds and over the years has played host to many rarities, as well as a summer residence for breading seabirds and skuas. Transport links can be challenging, as we found, especially in late October when the ferry, the Good Shepherd, only makes a weekly journey, and the weekday air service can be curtailed by crosswinds on the runway. Unfortunately we were a day late in arriving and had to leave a day early otherwise we would have had a three day wait for another flight. Accomodation on a full board basis at the Observatory, in excellent facilities was £60 a head..impossible to match on Skye! Easterly winds had brought in thousands of thrushes from Scandinavia. A siberian Black-throated Thrush had made a brief appearance but disappeared before we could see it. In all we recorded 67 species over three days, no lifers but a number added to my year list for Scotland which now stands at 213. As we had to leave early because of weather, a productive 24 hours on Shetland produced a Steppe Grey Shrike, a Red-breasted Flycatcher and a Siberian Stonechat...all three birds proving new to me and there are images in the Gallery. The ferry from Lerwick to Aberdeen was in a Force 8/9 gale so the weather had the final say.
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.