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.
We spent a week's family holiday in the Uists based in Benbecula at the end of September, always an exciting time for migrants. Whilst the weather was mixed, as you would expect at this time of the year, we enjoyed some glorious days on empty beaches with lots of birds thrown in. Although our species list was not huge (70+) there was lots of quality and the wader numbers were immense. Highlight amongst the waders was two finds of Pectoral Sandpipers, a bird which has only been recorded once on Skye. Amongst migrant passerines it was good to catch up with a Yellow-browed Warbler at Langass. Both Merlin and Short-eared Owls provided fantastic photo opportunities and there are a number of images on the site. A Lesser Yellowlegs had been found whilst we wwere there but despite an early morning search it could not be relocated. Inevitably it was re-found a couple of days after we returned, and the appearance of an Isabelline Shrike was an added incentive for a quick return trip. Fortune favours the brave, or the daft, and I managed to see both species which can be added to my Scottish List. A bonus was the discovery of an American Golden Plover. The westerlies have brought in a few American waders....although the Shrike had come from the east, near the fringes of Asia. If anything, bird migration can be extremely unpredictable and Barra can be a bit of a magnet.
The annual bird report for Highland for the year 2016 has just been published by Highland Branch SOC. Many of the records contained in this website are included in the report. Sean Morris from Rum wrote the Lochaber summary in the report and ‘yours truly’ wrote the Skye and Lochalsh summary. Several colour images have been reproduced and include several from Bob and Martin Benson. I have a small number of copies available at £9, otherwise contact Highland Branch SOC at www.highlandbirds.scot.