Rain, Gales and Birds

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12th September 2011


This is an exciting time for birding with thousands of birds migrating south from their breeding grounds. During good weather with high pressure systems many of these birds simply overfly Skye, or are offshore and we never see them. Our recent weather systems have brought a steady trickle of interestings waders and wildfowl and a general pattern has emerged on this part of the west coast that birds will hang around for a few days before moving on, and there is an opportunity to see them. This was the case yesterday when Martin Benson and I popped over on the Mallaig ferry to see the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Traigh. This has amazingly turned up in the same field where one was found by Stephen MacDonald on the same date - 8th September, in 2005 - at that time only the 2nd record for the Highland recording area. 'Patch' watching has its rewards. Though we seem to have missed out on to-day's gale it has already brought in a number of rarities further south and this is certainly a time to check out for anything unusual and to have a special look along our shores, lochs and flooded fields. Bad weather may not always be good for birds, but it can be good for birding.