Bird & wildlife news from 2017 

23rd March

Weather: North easterly force 4 decreased through the morning to almost calm by afternoon. Early morning light rain quickly abated to leave a bright but largely overcast day.  

Present/arrivals:  A female type Black Redstart appeared along with three Chiffchaff, the first of the year.  Up to 10 Goldcrest arrived along with a Mistle Thrush and a few more Blackbirds.  A Snow Bunting flew over.  Three Short-eared Owls were present.


22nd March

Weather: overcast with moderate rain from mid-afternoon. Light NE increasing through the morning to force 5.

Present: A Wheatear was the first of the year and a Stonechat were present while a Sparrowhawk flew low over Fluke St.

5th March

Weather: Light early morning rain cleared to leave a bright day with broken cloud.  South westerly force 3-4 eased to virtually calm from early morning onwards.

Highlights: At least 15 Stonechats remained on the island overnight but with a bright day most appeared to trickle away as the day wore on.  The Black Redstart also remained while a Snow Bunting dropped in beside the Low Trap for a short while. Two Fieldfare were new while 5 Skylark passed over as did a skein of 46 Pink-footed Geese all going north.  The day ended with the year’s first Iceland Gull, a third winter, on Rona.

Passage: Skylark 5N, Pink-footed Goose 46N.

Present/arrivals: Iceland Gull 1 (3w), Black Redstart 1, Stonechat 15, Snow Bunting 1, Starling 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine 1, Fieldfare 2, Robin 5, Wren 3, Blackbird 1, Teal 24, Redshank 1, Curlew 60, Grey Heron 1, Purple Sandpiper 1, Turnstone 1, Carrion Crow 1.

 Third winter Iceland Gull (Mark Newell)
 Snow Bunting (Mark Newell)

4th March

Weather: overnight rain easing as the morning progressed only to be replaced by harr, visibility slightly improved late afternoon.  Brisk easterly overnight easing to almost calm from mid-morning.

Highlights: even this early in the season an easterly breeze brings a significant fall to the island, even if it only composed two species.  A first winter male Black Redstart was accompanied by at least 19 Stonechats almost all between the Byres and St Andrews Well.  To put the number in context the previous record day count of Stonechat is six.  Elsewhere eight Short-eared Owls were present.

Present/Arrivals: Stonechat 19, Black Redstart 1imm M, Short-eared Owl 8, Starling 1, Snipe 1, Blackbird 1, Robin 3, Song Thrush 3, Wren 1, Meadow Pipit 1, Pied Wagtail 2, Kestrel 1, Shelduck 1, Turnstone 3, cormorant 25.

 One of 19 Stonechats present (Mark Newell)

Tuesday 28th February

Peregrine 1, Kestrel male, Curlew 63, Redshank 3, Woodcock 1, Short-eared Owl 5 at roost, Black-headed Gull 4,  Song Thrush 1, Robin 4, Wren 6+, Carrion Crow 1, Wood Pigeon 1

Monday 27th February

Teal 3, Peregrine 1, Kestrel male, Merlin 1 immature dead found in Top Trap, Curlew 51, Redshank 3, Snipe 1, Common Gull 1, LBB Gull small numbers back, Glaucous Gull immature at roost,  Short-eared Owl 4 at roost, Skylark, Song Thrush 2,Robin 4, Wren 6+, Carrion Crow 1, Wood Pigeon 1, Rock Pipit 25, Pied Wagtail 1.       

23rd January

Red-throated Diver 1N, Common Scoter 2 off north end, Shelduck pair, Snipe 1, Puffin - winter plumage bird off east side, Short-eared Owl 4 at Low Light bushes, otherwise quiet with very light scattering of robins, wrens.

17th January

Limited coverage but at least five Bottle-nosed Dolphins were off the east side while a Little Auk was off the north end.

16th January 2017

Not surprisingly little change from yesterday however a few additions to the year list.  The highlight being five Sanderling passed South Ness while Purple Sandpiper and Black-headed Gull were also seen.  A Woodcock and Redwing were the first birds ringed this year.

Passage: Sanderling 5

Present: Long-tailed Duck 1f, Sparrowhawk, Turnstone 6, Purple Sandpiper 1, Short-eared Owl 5, Woodcock 1, Redwing 4, Robin 2, Grey Heron 2, Kittiwake 20, Common Gull 5, Black-headed Gull 5.

 Woodcock with uncharacteristically short bill (MarkNewell)
 Shags at sunset (Mark Newell)

15th January 2017

A full day of coverage failed to reveal much more ashore but a few good additions on the sea with a Long-tailed Duck and a Red-necked Grebe (presumably the same bird as in December).  Five Whooper Swans flew north as did a Linnet.

Passage: Whooper Swan 5, Linnet.

Present: Short-eared Owl 6+, Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine 1, Woodcock 1, Teal 17, Long-tailed Duck 1f, Red-necked Grebe 1, Kittiwake 3, Redwing 4, Blackbird 3, Song Thrush 2, Wren 5.

 Long-tailed Duck (Mark Newell)

14th January 2017

The first day of presence on the isle and a general lack of passerines despite the cold conditions on the mainland.  A young male Sparrowhawk may have been responsible given the Blackbird lucky escape witnessed.  Highlight was a first winter Glaucous Gull seen at South Ness then what was assumed to be the same on Rona.  At least 4 Short-eared Owl are present.

Passage: Pink-footed Geese 60s

Present: Glaucous Gull 1, Short-eared Owl 4, Peregrine 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Redwing 1, Song Thrush 2, Blackbird 2, Wren 3, Rock Pipit 10, Curlew 20, Oystercatcher 30, Redshank 4, Turnstone 2, Common Gull 1, Kittiwake 1.

Alan Lauder,
Jan 20, 2014, 5:49 AM
Mark Newell,
Jan 31, 2015, 4:56 AM
Mark Newell,
Jan 16, 2016, 12:01 PM
Mark Newell,
Jan 14, 2017, 1:33 PM