Skye Birds - A Birding Guide to the Isle of Skye
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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.


Storm Petrels on Skye

21st March 2018

 Barely the size of a House Sparrow, Storm Petrels spend their time at sea and the only time we might get a chance of seeing them from land is when they are blown inshore by storms.  You can regularly see them on ferry crossings in the summer but they spend winter months in warmer oceans.  They breed on remote islands off the west coast but proving breeding on Skye has been a long historical challenge.  In August 1772 Pennant claims he found them on MacDonald's Tables (Fladda Chuain) off the north-west of Skye "where they lurked under loose stones but betrayed themselves by their twittering noise." In the Old Statistical Account for Kilmuir in 1792 the species was again claimed to be breeding on Fladda Chuain.  Although Seton Gordon thought it was breeding on some of Skye's smaller islands no proof was provided.  The birds nest in burrows or in holes in rocks and only approach their nests in darkness - the challenge is therefore obvious.  In recent years occupancy of burrows has been proved by using playback techniques with the incubating birds responding to the calls.  The Shiants Ringing Group visit the Fladda Chuain islands annually and found occupied nest sites in 2015 - returning last year they again found occupied nests.  Since Pennant's visit, and nearly 250 years on, breeding on Skye by this diminutive sea bird has at last been proved with help from modern technology.

Bob

Derek Robertson Artist

Exhibition and presentation at Talla Dearg, Isleornsay on Saturday 21 September 2019  -  Migrations - a field study in adversity - in support of The Highlands Support Refugees

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. 

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