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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : March 2008

 

 

 

 

This table is Hebrides Bird Sightings period March 2008
Sunday 30th March, 2008 Garganey

Loch an t-saile - South Uist

(NF756460) 

   
Sunday 30th March, 2008 Brent Goose Loch Barvas - Isle of lewis
  • Brent Goose
  • Branta bernicla , Gaelic: Gèadha-got
  • WI Passage migrant, April to Mid May & Sept to Oct. Rare winter visitor
  • UK AMBER LIST, (101,000 birds winter) BTO
  • Breeds: North Russia, North America, Canada, Greenland, Spitsbergen
  • Winters: South of breeding range to USA, Africa, China,
  • Habitat: Tundra, (migration marshes, estuaries)
  • Diet: Grazing inter-tidal eelgrass and other vegetation
  • Smallest & darkest goose (mallard sized). Black head & neck. Grey-brown back. Grey-white lower breast & flanks 'pale-bellied'. Adults: small white neck patch.
  • Flies in loose flocks (not skeins)
  • Max age 18yr 10mths
  • Listen to a brent goose (RSPB site)

The Western Isles birds are usually passage migrants, the 'pale-bellied' birds that breed in the Eastern Canadian Arctic and winter in Ireland. This species makes the longest migration of any goose (4735 miles). Some parts of it's journey are non-stop for up to 1800 miles.

Brent geese are very dependent upon inter-tidal eel-grass and in the 1950's this plant declined due to a parasitic disease and the UK wintering brent numbers dropped drastically. Measures were introduced to recover the eelgrass and there are now about 100,000 brents in the UK in winter, roughly an eight-fold increase on the 1950's numbers.

 
Sunday 30th March, 2008 Red-throated Diver Braigh - Isle of Lewis "single just off the Briagh beach this lunchtime, on the Broad Bay side". Grahame and Jackie
Sunday 30th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stornoway Harbour

 

 

Sunday 30th March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas - Isle of lewis

Ness - Isle of lewis

   
Saturday 29th March, 2008

"Here are some pics taken today on South Uist and sightings

Loch an t-saile (NF756460)         Green-winged Teal 1 + Garganey 1

 Balgarva area (NF773467)           Kentish Plover 1

Tim Dix had a Wheatear on Grimsay yesterday 28/3."

Kentish Plover Kentish Plover Kentish Plover Green-winged Teal
Kentish Plover Kentish Plover Kentish Plover Green-winged teal
& common teal & garganeyl
       
Green-winged Teal Green-winged Teal Green-winged Teal  
Green-winged Teal Green-winged Teal Green-winged Teal  

Terry Fountain
Friday 28th March, 2008 Pomarine Skua Balranald - North Uist
  • Pomarine Skua (From Latin pomarin : covered nose - the cere on the bill)
  • AKA: Pom, Pomarine Jaeger
  • Stercorarius pomarinus
  • Passage visitor
  • Herring gull size seabird, long & twisted spoon-shaped tail streamers, wing has small white double flashes
  • 3 adult colour phases. Light-phase: Brown back, mainly white below. Head & neck yellowish-white, black cap. Dark-phase: Dark brown. Intermeadiate-phase: Dark with paler underparts, head and neck.
  • See at seawatching places Late April - May & Aug - Nov
  • Breeds: Greenland, North Russia, North of America, North of Eurasia, Islands
  • Winters: Tropical oceans, West African coast
  • Habitat: Tundra (winter seacoasts)
  • Diet: (Breeding grounds: Lemmings), eggs, other birds (kill a common gull), winter fish, Pirate (will steal from a gannet), scavenges
  • Similar birds: Arctic skua, Long-tailed skua, great skua

 

Does not breed in UK. We usually see it in August - November en route to spend winter off the West coast of Africa. In April - May it heads back to it's Arctic tundra breeding grounds.

 
Friday 28th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

 

 

Friday 28th March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

   
Friday 28th March, 2008 Kentish Plover

Lochdar - South Uist - Outer Hebrides

(just before Hebridean Jewellers park on left)

   
Friday 28th March, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Thursday 27th March, 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
 
Thursday 27th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Loch Dusuray + Loch Grogarry - South Uist

 

 

Thursday 27th March, 2008 Snow Buntings Loch Stilligarry - South Uist    
Wednesday 26th March, 2008 Kentish Plover

Lochdar - South Uist - Outer Hebrides

(just before Hebridean Jewellers park on left)

   
Wednesday 26th March, 2008 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay
  • 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
 
Wednesday 26th March, 2008 Yellowhammer Griminish - Benbecula
  • Yellowhammer
  • Emberiza citrinella
  • UK RED LIST, 792,000 pairs (declining) summer BTO
  • UK Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor . Mostly absent inScottish Highlands & Islands
  • Breeds: Europe, Asia
  • Winters: south of breeding range to Africa& Asia
  • Habitat: Open countryside preferably with tall cover - bushes or hedgerows. Grassland.
  • Bunting: Males have bright yellow head & below. Brown back (streaked black). Rump chestnut. Flight: shows white outer tail feathers. Perches singing in tops of tall bushes.
  • Diet: Seed,, summer, insects
  • Listen to a yellowhammer (RSPB site) "little bit of bread and no cheese!"
  • Similar birds: yellow wagtail
 
Tuesday 25th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Drimsdale - South Uist - South Uist

Stornoway Harbour

two juvenile Icelands at Goat Island Early AM

Simon B

Monday 24th March, 2008 Green-winged Teal Loch Bee - South Uist
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Anas carolinensis
  • UK Scarce vistor, 22 annual records BTO
  • Breeds: North America (nests on the ground, near water & under cover)
  • Winters: South of breeding range
  • Habitat: Lakes, marshes, ponds, shallow streams, sheltered wetlands, (taiga bogs)
  • Diet: Seeds, vegetation, insects - usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing
  • Breeding male: flanks & back grey. Yellow rear. Head chestnut with green eye patch. White-edged mark under eye.
    Distinguished from drake Common Teal by vertical white stripe on side of breast, NO horizontal white shoulder stripe & NO thin buff edging lines on head.
    Females light brown, similar to female Mallard, but with white-edged mark under eye. (Very similar bird to a female Common Teal).
    Non-breeding drake looks like the female.
  • Gregarious dabbling duck. Noisy species. Male has clear whistle, female a weak quack.
  • Similar birds common teal
 
Monday 24th March, 2008 Kumlien's Gull Loch Barvas - 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.

 
Monday 24th March, 2008 Kentish Plover

Lochdar - South Uist - Outer Hebrides

(just before Hebridean Jewellers park on left)

   
Monday 24th March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

North Bay - South Uist

   
Monday 23rd March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Loch Portain + Howmore - South Uist

Loch Fada - Benbecula

   
Sunday 23rd March, 2008 Great Northern Diver Seilabost (1) + Northton (3) - Isle of Harris
  • Great Northern Diver
  • AKA: (big loon, common loon, black-billed loon, call-up-a-storm, imber diver, ring-necked loon, and walloon, ember-goose, greenhead, guinea duck)
  • Gavia immer
  • AKA Common Loon
  • Scarce breeder, winter visitor
  • Arrives UK August - leave to breed April - May
  • 3000 in UK in winter BTO
  • Usually solitary, large: average 32 inches long, wingspan of 54 inches, weighs 9lbs (81cm : 136cm : 4.1kg)
  • Breeding adults: black head, white below, checked black & white mantle, sexes similar
  • Non-breeding brownish, white chin, foreneck, bill is grey- whitish held horizontal
  • Breeds: Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, North Scotland, North America, Canada
  • Winters: North Europe, UK, North America
  • Habitat: Lakes, ponds & rivers
  • Diet: Mostly fish, crustaceans amphibians,
  • Fishes underwater to 200 feet (60m) immer means submerge
SK
Sunday 23rd March, 2008 Red-throated Diver Loch - Tarbert to Luskentyre rd - Isle of Harris   SK
Sunday 23rd March, 2008 Goldeneye

Nr Bernera Shop (3 pr)

Borve - Isle of Harris (pr)

  SK
Sunday 23rd March, 2008

Wigeon (16)

Greenshank (3)

Luskentyre - Isle of harris   SK
Sunday 23rd March, 2008 Whooper Swans Northon - Isle of Harris 22 altogether (approx 5 immature) near golden plover (20) SK
Sunday 23rd March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Loch Portain + Howmore - South Uist

Loch Fada - Benbecula

   
Sunday 23rd March, 2008 Great White Egret Loch Stilligarry - South Uist    
Sunday 23rd March, 2008

Green-winged Teal

Garganey

Loch an t-Saile - South Uist

NF757462

   
Sunday 23rd March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

North Bay + Howmore - South Uist

   
Sunday 23rd March, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Saturday 22nd March, 2008 Iceland Gull

North Ford - Benbecula

North Bay + Ardivachar Point + Lochboisdale- South Uist

Skigersta - Isle of Lewis

Shader - Barvas + Stornoway - Isle of lewis

   
Saturday 22nd March, 2008

Green-winged Teal

Garganey

Loch an t-Saile - South Uist

NF757462

   
Saturday 22nd March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

The Range - South Uist

Shader - Barvas + Stornoway - Isle of lewis

Butt of Lewis

   
Saturday 22nd March, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Friday 21st March, 2008

A few for today (wintry as it is).

South Uist
Glauc gull 1                   loch an t-saile 

 Benbecula
L Scaup 1 male             loch fada
Scaup 1 male                coot loch
P F Goose 9                  borve Machair
Whoopers 43                 loch mor
Iceland gull 1                 gramsdale

 Pink-footed GeeseTerry's photograph of the Pink-footed Geese.

Terry Fountain

Friday 21st March, 2008 Iceland Gull

North Ford - Benbecula

Loch Portain - North Uist

Drimsdale - South Uist

Stornoway Harbour - Isle of lewis

   
Friday 21st March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

Balranald - North Uist

Shader - Barvas + Stornoway Harbour - Isle of lewis

Loch an t-Saile - South Uist

   
Friday 21st March, 2008

Pink-footed Goose

Borve Machair - Benbecula    
Friday 21st March, 2008 Scaup Coot Loch Benbecula    
Friday 21st March, 2008

Green-winged Teal

Loch an t-Saile - South Uist

NF757462

   
Friday 21st March, 2008 Red-necked Grebe Loch Bee - South Uist    
Friday 21st March, 2008

Lesser Scaup

Coot Loch - Benbecula

Far end of loch (opposite Borgh on B892)

NF 770 510

   
Thursday 20th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

North Ford + Air an Runair - Benbecula

Loch Portain - North Uist

Balranald - North Uist

   
Thursday 20th March, 2008 Wheatear Grimsay - North Uist    
Wednesday 19th March, 2008

"This sunshine has certainly had all the wildlife getting into the swing as it were. Please find attached a pic of a Green-winged Teal I was fortunate enough to find on Loch an t-Saile NF757462 first thing this morning."

Green-winged Teal
Terry's photograph of the green-winged teal

"Also in the area Glaucous, Iceland gulls. Goldfinch 2, Twite @500, Peregrine 1 and 4 Gannet feeding off the MOD Range."

Terry Fountain
Wednesday 19th March, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist male with large flock of scaup
  • 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)
 
Wednesday 19th March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar + South Uist

   
Wednesday 19th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

North Bay - South Uist

   
Wednesday 19th March, 2008 Great Northern Diver Croir Bay - Bernera "Great Northern Diver with a pair of mallard on the sea beside the shore. The mallard sometimes nest in the dense vegetation beside a nearby land-locked brackish lagoon. They usually have sandpipers as nesting neighbours - very noisy but great at danger alerts... " SK
Tuesday 19th March, 2008 Merlin

Barraglom - Bernera

 

Croir - Bernera

"Male falcon zipped along the glen - only 3-5 feet above the ground, landed on a fence post - really close"

 

"Merlin (dark male) down in the willows, alighted on a post nearby to where sparrows feed. Probably why only 5-6 sparrrows most of this winter when for the last few years there were 23-25. Rock dove numbers are down too ... "

 

  • Merlin
  • AKA: Stone Falcon, Pigeon Hawk
  • Falco columbarius
  • UK AMBER LIST, 13,000 pairs (Summer) BTO
    (1,300 breeding pairs) RSPB
  • Breeds: Upland moorland, birch scrub, forest. North America, Asia, Europe (UK nest usually a scrape on upland rocky or scrub moor in long heather)
  • Winter: In Aug - Oct birds come down to inland & lowland coast areas & North European birds arrive. (Open countryside areas) .Some Icelandic breeding birds migrate to UK. Merlin often roost communally & with hen harriers. Africa, Asia, South America
  • Habitat: Moor, heath, desert, open coniferous forest
  • Diet: Small birds (mostly) usually caught by dashing pursuit
  • Smallest bird of prey, compact, relatively long square-cut tail & fairly broad-based pointed wings (shorter than other falcons')
    Adult male: blue-grey above & orange-tinted below. Female & immature dark-brown above & whitish with brown spotting below.
  • Max recorded age: 12yrs 8mths
  • Listen to a merlin (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: kestrel, sparrowhawk

Our smallest bird of prey.
Small but powerful...the hunting flight is a low-level glide,wings held close to body), pushed by occasional series of deft wingbeats (also hovers).

During a stoop the wings close and the bird becomes a missile that comes upon it's prey with such speed and power that the bird can take prey up to 4 times it's own weight. Dashing, agile aerial chases are a speciality. Will take a grouse but mainly feeds on pipits and larks

 

SK

 

Sunny

Tuesday 19th March, 2008 Goldeneye Loch beside Bernera PO

"Still three pairs there"

  • Goldeneye
  • AKA: Common goldeneye
  • Bucephala clangula
  • UK Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
    WI Passage migrant & Winter Visitor
  • AMBER LIST, 200 pairs (summer), (32,000 winter) RSPB
  • Breeds: Europe (inc Scotland), Asia, North America, Canada, Northern Russia
  • Winters: (Aug - March birds from North Europe visit UK. Mediterranean, South China, USA
  • Habitat: Lakes, rivers, forests (migration protected seacoasts & open inland water)
  • Diet: Diving to 4m underwater to forage: crustaceans, molluscs, fish eggs, plants (summer insects)
  • Med size sea duck (16-21in). Males: dark back. White neck & belly. Head dark & greenish. Circular white patch below yellow eye. Females smaller with mottled grey body & chocolate brown head. Flight shows large white area on inner wing
  • Average age 7yrs, Max recorded 11yrs
  • Listen to a goldeneye (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Smew, Goosesander

Goldeneye nest in large holes in trees. The first UK breeding record was in Scotland in 1970. Since then nestboxes have been put in trees by water and this has successfully encouraged some of the winter visitors to stay.

 

SK
Tuesday 19th March, 2008

Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar + Drimsdale - South Uist

   
Tuesday 19th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Gramsdale - Benbecula

Howmore- South Uist

   
Tuesday 19th March, 2008 Garganey Loch Bee - Benebecula
  • Garganey
  • Anas querquedula
  • UK Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • UK 69 pairs, (summer) AMBER LIST, Declining BTO
 
Monday 17th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stornoway - Harbour - Isle of Lewis

   
Sunday 16th March, 2008 Garganey Loch Bee - Benebecula    
Sunday 16th March, 2008 3 Pintail Loch Stiapabhat at Ness   Martin S
Sunday 16th March, 2008

Pilot Whale

Glaucous Gull

Butt of Lewis

Ardivachar - South Uist

"Just to say there is a beached Pilot Whale c.25 foot long  on the shore between Siadar and Borve, c.1/2 mile north of Siadar. The gulls are already getting stuck into it"
Martin S
Sunday 16th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Butt of Lewis

   
Saturday 15th March, 2008 Glaucous Gull Shader - Lewis    
Saturday 15th March, 2008 Song Thrush Bernera

"The song thrush has just started singing again in the mornings and at dusk, a joy - we have evenings again! "

The male song thrush perches high in trees or on rooftops to sing, where it repeats it's musical phrases two to four times. The most widespread species in the UK sings November to July, our Hebridean race sings from February to June.

Sunny
Friday 14th March, 2008 Kentish Plover

Lochdar - South Uist - Outer Hebrides

(just before Hebridean Jewellers park on left)

   
Friday 14th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stornoway - Isle of lewis

   
Thursday 13th March Pied Wagtail Callanish - Isle of Lewis

"First I have seen this spring, out feeding on the road. Several about all at once"

  • Pied Wagtail
  • Motacilla alba yarrellii
  • UK summer 293,000 pairs BTO
  • Migrant or Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • Distribution: Europe, Asia, North West Africa. Breeds in temparate parts of it's range (UK Leaves highland & northern areas of Scotland, WI in winter) elsewise migrates to Africa
  • Most habitats, including town centres. Prefers bare areas where it can see its prey. Often in open country near water, beaches, car parks. Also flycatches in air. Nests in crevices in stone walls & similar places.
  • Small and sprightly. Long-tailed. Black & white bird. Stands wagging tail up & down or dashes about seeking food. Undulating flight.
  • Typical lifespan: 2 years
  • Listen to a pied wagtail (RSPB site)
Ela S
Wednesday 12th March, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas - Isle of lewis

   
Wednesday 12th March, 2008 Merlin Croir - Bernera   SK
Sunday 9th March, 2008 Garganey Loch Fada - Benebecula    
Sunday 9th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stornoway Harbour - Isle of lewis

Ardivachar - South Uist

   
Sunday 9th March, 2008 Snow Buntings (3) Bosta
  • Snow Bunting
  • AKA: Snowflake, Snaa Fuhl
  • Plectrophenax nivalis
  • UK Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • AMBER LIST: UK 70 - 100 prs (Summer) 11,000 birds (Winter) RSPB
  • Breeds: Arctic: (Circumpolar) Greenland, Iceland, North America, North Europe - A Few in North Scotland. (Has bred on St Kilda)
  • Winter: Heads South: South Europe, Central Asia, South USA
  • Breeding Habitat: Tundra, treeless moorland (rock crevices)
  • Diet: Ground feeder: Mostly seeds (summer insects for young), rocky shores (follows wrack-line), short & open vegetation, sand dunes
  • Large buntings. Summer males: Heads & underparts all white with black back & wing tips. Females & juveniles pale ginger above, white below. In Autumn & winter the white has a sandy or buff wash & males' upperparts more mottled. Flight: large white wing patches. Not shy. Forms flocks
  • Listen: snow bunting (RSPB site)
Sunny
Sunday 9th March, 2008 Great Northern Diver Bosta Bay   Sunny
Sunday 9th March, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas - Isle of lewis

Ardivachar + North Bay + Howmore - South Uist

   
Corn bunting poulations dropped 86 per cent in the UK between 1967 and 2003.

New studies show that all populations have continued to fall, except on the Western Isles where numbers increased by over 20 per cent from 111 to 134 territorial males between 2006 and 2007.

This is believed to be a result of the Uist and Barra Arable Stack Scheme, which pays crofters to stack some of their grain crop (instead of storing it in plastic bales), providing a valuable winter food source for the bunting.

Telegraph online article 6th March, 2008

 

Corn Buntings in the Western Isles, prefering tilled ground, are in the Uists and Barra. There were populations in Lewis in Ness, and Northton in Harris, but they have been extinct for nearly 30 years now.

(Thanks Martin)

 

Friday 7th March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stornoway Harbour - Isle of lewis

 

   
Friday 7th March, 2008 Glaucous Gull Loch Barvas - Isle of lewis    
Wednesday 5th March, 2008 Glaucous Gull Fivepenny Machair - Ness - Isle of lewis

2 photos of a Glaucous Gull...
The identification looks right with a well pronounced red spot on its beak.
Looking at your other photos it looks like a 2nd winter.
It has been flying around for two days now but yesterday was the closest it had been while resting from the wind.

John B
Tuesday 4th March, 2008 Garganey Loch Fada - Benebecula    
Monday 3rd March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Stornoway Harbour - Isle of lewis

 

   
Sunday 2nd March, 2008 White-billed Diver Port Skigersta - Isle of Lewis    
Saturday 1st March, 2008 White-billed Diver Port Skigersta - Isle of Lewis    
Saturday 1st March, 2008 Iceland Gull

Howmore - South Uist

 

   
Saturday 1st March, 2008 Glaucous Gull

Loch Barvas - Isle of lewis

   
             

 

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