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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : February 2008

 

 

 

 

This table is Hebrides Bird Sightings February 2008
Friday 29th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

Eochar - South Uist

 

   
Friday 29th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

Bornish + Eochar - South Uist

   
Friday 29th February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Thursday 28th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

 

   
Thursday 28th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Stinky Bay - Eochar - South Uist

   
Thursday 28th February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Wednesday 27th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

Stilligarry - South Uist

Adivachar - South Uist

   
Wednesday 27th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Drimsdale + North Bay + Balgarva- South Uist

   
Wednesday 27th February, 2008 White-billed Diver Port Skigersta - Isle of Lewis    
Wednesday 27th February, 2008 American Herring Gull Gramsdale - Benbecula

First winter bird

Bird length 53-65cm and wingspan 120 -150cm.

This is the Nearctic counterpart of Herring Gull

The American herring gull is apparently similar to the herring gull, but a little larger and heavier, with a stronger bill, smaller head, with a flatter forehead.

The American herring gull is slimmer than the glaucous gull with a rounder head, eyes that are more centrally placed, a more slender bill, and with a less clear *gonys-angle

The gull's head often peaks on the crown well behind eyes. When it has settled it shows 3 or 4 equally spaced primary tips beyond tail.

Distinguishing the American herring gull from the herring gull is described as straighforward in first years (!) but otherwise extremely difficult, and for older birds is often impossible.

Apparently sound recordings of the American herring gull played to herring gulls in Western Europe got no response. (So perhaps they are unlikely to cross-breed and make identification even more difficult...)

 
Tuesday 26th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stinky Bay - Benbecula

Goat Island - Stornoway Harbour

   
Tuesday 26th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Stinky Bay - Benbecula

   
Monday 25th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Lochboisedale - South Uist

Goat Island - Stornoway Harbour (2)

   
Sunday 24th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Tobha Beag - South Uist

   
Saturday 23rd February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

   
Saturday 23rd February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Friday 22nd February, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar - South Uist

Stornoway (municipal dump)

   
Friday 22nd February, 2009 Iceland Gull

Eochar - South Uist

Stornoway (municipal dump)

   
Thursday 21st February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar - South Uist

Stornoway (municipal dump)

   
Thursday 21st February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Eochar - South Uist

Stornoway (municipal dump) + Harbour

Stinky Bay - Benbecula

   
Thursday 21st February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Thursday 21st February, 2008 Brambling Castle Grounds - Stornoway    
Wednesday 20th February, 2009 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris
  • Glaucous Gull
  • Larus hyperboreus
  • Winter Visitor, 200+ UK (winter) RSPB
  • Breeds Arctic & Northern Atlantic European coasts: Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America. (nests on ground or cliffs)
  • Winters: Mostly North Atlantic & North Pacific oceans, some go as far south as Northern Mexico
  • Large gull: bigger, bulkier than herring gull. Pale wingtips (no black in wings & tail)
    Adult pearl-grey above, thick yellow bill. Immatures: very pale-grey, creamy-white or biscuit coloured with pink & black bill.
    More fierce looking than similar (smaller) Iceland gull
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes, rubbish tips, reservoirs, fishing ports (with other winter gulls)
  • Diet: Omnivorous: mostly animals, also other seabirds ( in flight) scavenges carrion, scraps & is a pirate
  • Listen to a glaucous gull (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: herring gull, Iceland gull
 
Wednesday 20th February, 2009 Slavonian Grebe Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris
  • Slavonian Grebe
  • AK: Horned Grebe, Devil-diver, hell-diver, pink-eyed diver, Water Witch.
  • Podiceps auritus
    AMBER LIST UK (breeding) 70 - 80 pairs, (winter) 400 birds RSPB
  • Breeds: Vegetated areas of freshwater lakes (nests water's edge). Europe - (inc Scotland), Asia, Canada ( Striped young sometimes carried on adult's back).
  • Winters: Europe (inc WI), South China, USA
  • Habitat: Marshes, lochs, streams (also coast in winter)
  • Diet: Insects, fish (Dives & chases fish underwater)
  • Small grebe 12 - 15in long. Summer male: Face has golden puffy ear-like tufts along sides & black cheeks. Reddish neck & flanks. Scarlet eyes. Small & stubby straight white-tipped black bill. Winter bird: white cheeks, throat & breast with a sharply defined black cap. Dark nape & back. Rides high in water. Legs set far back - not good at walking. Nests at water's edge.

Photographs of slavonian grebes in winter and summer plumage on Steven Round's web site

Eats it's own feathers (& feeds them to chicks) the feathers form a mass in the stomach that has a sieve-like effect, and holds fish-bones until the bird has digested them.

 
Tuesday 19th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Eochar - South Uist

   
Tuesday 19th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Eochar - South Uist

   
Tuesday 19th February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Monday 18th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Kilpheder - South Uist

   
Sunday 17th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Eochar - South Uist

Loch Barvas - Isle of Lewis

   
Sunday 17th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale + Drimsdale - Benbecula

Eochar - South Uist

   
Sunday 17th February, 2008 Snow Buntings

North Uist (200+)

Sollas

Berneray

   
Saturday 16th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Drimsdale - South Uist

Stornoway Harbour

   
Friday 15th February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Friday 15th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Drimsdale - South Uist

Stornoway Harbour

Loch Roag - Isle of Lewis

   
Friday 15th February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Friday 15th February, 2008 White-billed Diver (3) Port Skigersta - Isle of Lewis    
Friday 15th February, 2008 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris    
Thursday 14th February, 2008 White-billed Diver Port Skigersta - Isle of Lewis 2 white billed divers seen in the bay at Skigersta this afternoon Julie S
         
Thur 14th February, 2008 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris
  • Glaucous Gull
  • Larus hyperboreus
  • Winter Visitor, 200+ UK (winter) RSPB
  • Breeds Arctic & Northern Atlantic European coasts: Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America. (nests on ground or cliffs)
  • Winters: Mostly North Atlantic & North Pacific oceans, some go as far south as Northern Mexico
  • Large gull: bigger, bulkier than herring gull. Pale wingtips (no black in wings & tail)
    Adult pearl-grey above, thick yellow bill. Immatures: very pale-grey, creamy-white or biscuit coloured with pink & black bill.
    More fierce looking than similar (smaller) Iceland gull
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes, rubbish tips, reservoirs, fishing ports (with other winter gulls)
  • Diet: Omnivorous: mostly animals, also other seabirds ( in flight) scavenges carrion, scraps & is a pirate
  • Listen to a glaucous gull (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: herring gull, Iceland gull
 
Thur 14th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris
  • Melanitta perspicillata
  • Accidental
  • Large sea duck, bulky shape, large bill.
  • Male almost all black, white patches nape & forehead. Bulbous red, yellow & white bill.
  • Females brown birds, pale head patches. Head wedge-shaped & no white in wings helps ID female from female velvet scoter
  • Fewer than 20 UK records
  • Breeds: Alaska & Canada
  • Winters: South USA, Europe & UK
  • Habitat: Close to sea, lakes, rivers, tundra
  • Diet: Molluscs, crustaceans, (migration fish eggs)
  • BTO records
 
Thur 14th February, 2008 Slavonian Grebe Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris
  • Slavonian Grebe
  • AK: Horned Grebe, Devil-diver, hell-diver, pink-eyed diver, Water Witch.
  • Podiceps auritus
    AMBER LIST UK (breeding) 70 - 80 pairs, (winter) 400 birds RSPB
  • Breeds: Vegetated areas of freshwater lakes (nests water's edge). Europe - (inc Scotland), Asia, Canada ( Striped young sometimes carried on adult's back).
  • Winters: Europe (inc WI), South China, USA
  • Habitat: Marshes, lochs, streams (also coast in winter)
  • Diet: Insects, fish (Dives & chases fish underwater)
  • Small grebe 12 - 15in long. Summer male: Face has golden puffy ear-like tufts along sides & black cheeks. Reddish neck & flanks. Scarlet eyes. Small & stubby straight white-tipped black bill. Winter bird: white cheeks, throat & breast with a sharply defined black cap. Dark nape & back. Rides high in water. Legs set far back - not good at walking. Nests at water's edge.

Photographs of slavonian grebes in winter and summer plumage on Steven Round's web site

Eats it's own feathers (& feeds them to chicks) the feathers form a mass in the stomach that has a sieve-like effect, and holds fish-bones until the bird has digested them.

 
Wed 13th February, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist
  • AKA: Widgeon, Baldpate
  • Anas americana
  • Scarce visitor, 6 UK annual records BTO
  • Breeds North-West & Central America
  • Winters: South USA to Northerly South America
  • Duck: Adult male in breeding season: pinkish brown body, greenish eye patch, creamy white crown stripe,
  • Gregarious outside of breeding season
  • Habitat: lochs, marshes, wet meadows, on migration also rivers, estuaries
  • Diet: Mostly grass, invertebrates ( seeds in summer)
  • Similar bird: (wigeon cream-buff or orange crown)
 
Wed 13th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull The Range - South Uist
  • Glaucous Gull
  • Larus hyperboreus
  • Winter Visitor, 200+ UK (winter) RSPB
  • Breeds Arctic & Northern Atlantic European coasts: Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America. (nests on ground or cliffs)
  • Winters: Mostly North Atlantic & North Pacific oceans, some go as far south as Northern Mexico
  • Large gull: bigger, bulkier than herring gull. Pale wingtips (no black in wings & tail)
    Adult pearl-grey above, thick yellow bill. Immatures: very pale-grey, creamy-white or biscuit coloured with pink & black bill.
    More fierce looking than similar (smaller) Iceland gull
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes, rubbish tips, reservoirs, fishing ports (with other winter gulls)
  • Diet: Omnivorous: mostly animals, also other seabirds ( in flight) scavenges carrion, scraps & is a pirate
  • Listen glaucous gull (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: herring gull, Iceland gull
 
Wed 13th February, 2008 Iceland Gull The Range - South Uist

  • Iceland Gull
  • Larus glaucoides
  • Uncommon winter and passage visitor , scarce in summer
  • 70 - 80 birds (usually singular) winter in UK RSPB
  • Usually smaller than herring gull. All plumages very pale, no black in wings or tail. Immatures pale-creamy brown with fine barring. Rounded head, large dark eyes. Flight: "short-necked", very pale wings - white tips
  • Breeds: Arctic Canada, Greenland (not Iceland)
  • Winters: North Atlantic, South to North Europe - UK, East coast USA
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes
  • Diet: Omnivores: Mostly fish, some carrion, eggs & young of other birds
  • Similar birds: Glaucous gull (they're usually larger & more frequent

The BTO migration Atlas estimates 100 - 200 birds wintering in the UK.

 
Wed 13th February, 2008 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay - Isle of Harris    
Tue 12th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

North Bay - North Uist

Stornoway - Harbour - Isle of Lewis

   
Tue 12th February, 2008 Iceland Gull Ardivachar - North Uist    
Tue 12th February, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

Drake bird

  • Lesser Scaup
  • Aythya affinis
  • Accidental UK 2 annual records BTO
  • Breeds: Marsh ponds. North America (Alaska) , Western Canada
  • Winters: Lake rivers, coasts Pacific coast of North & South America (UK vagrant first record in 1987) One of latest migrants to head south each year
  • Diving duck: at 7 weeks old can dive for 25 seconds to 60 feet depth. Also some dabbling. Eats aquatic insects, molluscs, plants
  • Small duck (38-45cm long). Blue bill. Yellow eyes. Adult males dark (purple sheen), black breast, light-grey back, black tail, white below. Adult females white band base of bill, brown head & body.

    Smaller than the Greater Scaup and very similar, they often flock together:

    " Lessers have a very small amount of black at the tip, and a more concave shape bill, most so at the base.... the highest point of head is at the rear, and much more sloped at the front.....males flank feathers have fine grey vermiculations giving a clouded greyish appearance. (rear flank striping usually courser and visable.).... upper parts darker than greater scaup and more coarsely vermiculated...they sit higher in the water.."

based on Neill Hunt's notes

There are about 18 UK lesser scaup sites so far this year RBB.
BTO records show about 2 birds a year
BBRC records show 14 for 2006, as highest number in any year.

 
Sunday 10th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

South Uist

Ness + Loch Barvas - Isle of Lewis

   
Sunday 10th February, 2008 Iceland Gull Ardivachar - North Uist    
Sunday 10th February, 2008 Kentish Plover South Ford -

"just before Hebridean Jewellers park on left"

  • Kentish Plover
  • AKA: Snowy Plover
  • Charadrius alexandrinus
  • 34 annual UK records BTO
  • UK Former Breeder, Scarce Visitor
  • Breeds: "Locally" in Europe, Asia, (NOT KENT or rest of UK)
  • Winters: South Europe - Central Africa, South-East Asia
  • Habitat: Beaches, mudflats, rivers, lochs
  • Small wader, like ringed plover, but smaller, paler, longer-legged & thinner-billed. Breast band never complete, & usually as dark lateral patches on sides of breast. Greyish-brown above, white below. Summer adults' breast markings black, otherwise brown. Legs black. Flight: Flight feathers blackish & strong white wingbar
  • Diet: Inland: Insects. Coastal: Crustaceans, worms, molluscs (run & pause)

 

 
Sunday 10th February, 2008 Green-winged Teal Loch Mor - South Uist    
Sunday 10th February, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist    
Saturday 9th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Siadar - Isle of Lewis

Ardivachar - South Uist

North Bay - South Uist

   
Sunday 10th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Goat Island - Stornoway (6)

Stornoway Harbour (7)

Lochboisedale - South Uist

   
Friday 9th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar - South Uist (12)+(5)

North Bay - South Uist (8)

   
Friday 9th February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Goat Island - Stornoway (6)

Stornoway Harbour (7)

Lochboisedale - South Uist

   
Thursday 8th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar - South Uist

5 birds  
Wednesday 7th February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas- Isle of Lewis

   
Sunday 3rd February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Loch Barvas + Siadar - Isle of Lewis

   
Sunday 3rd February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas + Shawbost - Isle of Lewis

   
Sunday 3rd February, 2008 Kumlien's Gull Brue - Isle of Lewis

Mediterranean version of the Herring Gull with yellow instead of pinkish legs. It is also called the Yellow-legged Gull.

Larger bird, different shape with longer wings and legs. Darker back. The adults' wing tips have more black and less white, (underwing shows hardly any white).

In winter the Kumlien's Gull has less streaking on the head than the Herring Gull so can be spotted within a flock.

Recently it has been decided that this is a separate species to the Herring Gull.

 
Saturday 2nd February, 2008 Iceland Gull

Loch Barvas + Siadar - Isle of Lewis

Balgarva - South Uist

   
Saturday 2nd February, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas - Isle of Lewis

Howmore - South Uist

   
Saturday 2nd February, 2008 Kumlien's Gull Brue - Isle of Lewis    
Saturday 2nd February, 2008 Great White Egret Loch Grogarry - South Uist

 

  • Ardea alba
  • AKA : White Heron, Common Egret
  • Scarce visitor
  • Just 6 UK annual records BTO
  • Large, (approx as grey heron) all white, yellow bill, black legs & feet
  • Distribution: Tropical & warmer temperate parts of the world
  • Breeds: in colonies in trees
  • Habitat: Marshy places shallow water, reedbed, lakes, rivers
  • Diet: Insects, fish, frogs, small mammals

 

The Great White Egret develops a set of long showy feathers which spread like a very large fan. It uses them in courtship displays. In the late 19th and early 20th century the species was decimated by the requirements of the fashion trade as humans emulated the herons.

This Egret is shy and vigilant, the only time it is easy to approach is when sitting on eggs, so this is when the birds were most frequently shot.

The species is now recovering and has repopluated many areas from which it had disappeared.

 
Friday 1st February, 2008 Iceland Gull Stornoway Harbour    
Friday 1st February, 2008 Great White Egret Drimsdale - South Uist    
         

 

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