Skye, Lochalsh & Lochaber Birding Conference

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20th November 2012


Its always difficult when you are helping organise a conference to guage its success but in the first instance, an attendance of nearly 100 delegates and speakers surpassed my expectations. Feedback over the last couple of days has been extremely positive, and the venue at Sabhal Mor Ostaig was enjoyed by everyone if a little chilly in the lecture theatre. It was also pleasing that so many local people attended, many followers of this website, and my only regret was that I didn't get the chance to speak to everyone. I think we got the balance of speakers right but perhaps could have made a little more time for discussion and informal chat. Large raptors inevitably create controversy and it was not surprising that some of the results from Kate & Ken's intensive Golden Eagle study, in particular the suggestion that Sea Eagles may be impacting on Golden Eagle productivity in Skye, may not have gone down too well in some quarters. There is a tendency for SNH and RSPB to follow the same line on this matter and hopefully, local findings from Skye might encourage them to acknowledge that perhaps some populations dynamics are at work and that Golden Eagle may well be suffering, not just on Skye but along the western seaboard. Golden Eagles may well face long-term decline and there is a need for a wider debate away from the 'PR' and political soundbites. On a lighter note several delegates staying overnight at the college were rudely awakened by the fire alarm at 3.0am but sadly the conference photographer was not on hand to record the moment. The image on the right shows the Skye Birds team with Martin, Bob and Marianne. We hope you enjoyed our display and many thanks to Martin for all his hard work setting this up. The three field trips on the Sunday proved extremely popular and again thanks to Martin, and to Roger for helping out with these. Multiple Golden Eagle, Slavonian Grebe, and Waxwing sightings were the order of the day and the 'far north' group managed to see 4 Hen Harriers going to roost before cold and darkness caused our retreat. Thanks to everyone for their support and a special thanks to Jane at SOC for all her hard work. Also have a look at Steve's blog