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.
Extremadura is one of the premier birding areas in Spain especially during the breeding season, a top area for raptors, vultures, and steppe species such as sandgrouse and bustards. I had visited the fringes of the area before but a trip with www.western-isles-wildlife.com provided the opportunity to get to grips with some old favourites and hopefully tick off some new ones. We flew from Edinburgh direct to Madrid so it is fairly accessible from Scotland. A total of 18 raptor/vulture species were recorded including Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black Shouldered Kite. Bee Eaters and Rollers were arriving but maybe just too early for Golden Oriole. I did manage to add 5 species to my Spanish list which now stands at 249, including Spectacled and Subalpine Warbler. Great Spotted Cuckoo were found in the grounds of our rural guest house along with a huge flock of Spanish Sparrows. The trip list for birds stood at 143 which gives an indication of the ornithological diversity in the region. We recorded 13 species of Butterfly including Spanish Festoon, Spanish Marbles White and Nettle Tree. It was also Orchid season and these included Woodcock, Yellow Bee and Naked Man. A region rich in biodiversity which is well worth a longer visit, and where eco-tourists are well catered for. See the overseas gallery for a range of images.
Corncrakes are one of the many migrants that are returning to Scotland around this time. Although we have no reports on Skye as yet, one bird has been heard calling on Lewis, so it’s worth having a listen in case our birds are starting to show up. The corncrake’s repetitive, rasping call is very distinctive and sounds just like its Latin name - Crex crex. This is the male corncrake looking for a mate – they call persistently through the night, but you may hear sporadic calls in the daytime as well. The RSPB carries out an annual summer survey across the corncrake’s Scottish breeding range which includes Skye. So, this is where we’d really appreciate your help - if you hear or see a corncrake please let me know where and when you heard it by phoning or texting the number below, or report to Skye Birds. We will collate all the reports and have a monthly prize draw from May to August where the winning record is drawn out of a hat – with top prizes of course!
These birds are extremely rare and vulnerable so it is important that you don’t disturb or approach them. Best way is to keep out of the meadows and stay on the roads. Good luck!
All reports from Skye Birds are extremely helpful with the summer survey and if you would like to know more about the work RSPB is doing on Skye for corncrakes please get in touch.
RSPB Corncrake Project Officer, Isle of Skye
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