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 Bird Sightings Records : Hebrides : March 2009





   This table is Hebrides Bird Sightings period March 2009
Tuesday 31st March, 2009 Bonaparte's Gull Rubha Ardvule - South Uist    

Adult female Palmate newt found on Grimsay yesterday , also found adult male and 8 newtlets (last years young). Two wheatears on Grimsay and hundreds of whoopers moving up the machairs.
Jamie B

Tuesday 31st March, 2009


A couple of bird sightings:

Thursday 26th March @ 17.15 Lemreway : a Reed Bunting (male) in one of the brackish ditches.

Saturday 28th March @ ~ 11.00 Lemreway a Skylark on the ground competing with the starlings for food etc.

Today 30/03/09 Lemreway @ about 11.00 Whooper swans 11/10 of heading north/north west. They may have landed at one of the lochs near Orinsay but my next door neighbour seems to think they are on their way home(!).

Helen B



"There were various sightings of chaffinches in Ness (Lewis) over the weekend".
Julie S

"Pair in Croir (Bernera) too this spring"


Tuesday 31st March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

West Loch Ollay
+ Aird Michael
+ Peninerine
+ Rubha Ardule
+ Ardivachar
: South Uist

Tuesday 31st March, 2009 Iceland Gull

Rubda Ardvule - South Uist

Tuesday 31st March, 2009 American Wigeon

Buail Uach Draich - South Uist

Tuesday 24th March, 2009 Barn Swallow Loch Sandary - North Uist
  • Barn Swallow
  • Hirundo rustica
  • Gaelic: Gobhan Gaoithe
  • UK: 726,000 pairs (Summer) (Declining) AMBER LIST BTO
  • WI: Uncommon Migrant Breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) and fairly common passage visitor (occurs in small numbers)
  • Breeds: Originally cave-nester: Europe, Asia, North America
  • Winters: South Africa, North Australia, South America
  • Habitat: Open country usually near water: farm pasture & buildings, villages, reedbeds
  • Diet: Aerial feeder: flying insects (flies mostly)
  • Small bird. Dark glossy-blue back. Red throat & forehead. Pale below. Long (forked) tail streamers
    Very agile in flight - spends majority of life on the wing.
  • Typical lifespan 3yrs, max recorded 11ys 1mth
  • Listen to a Barn Swallow (RSPB site). Twittering
  • Similar birds: House Martin, Sand Martin (squarer tails), Swift (forked tails)

Aristole believed that Swallows spent winter in the bottom of ponds. This was proven to not be the case by means of tying small strips of rag to a swallow's legs. The rags had a water-soluble dye, when the bird returned in the spring the strips of rag still had colour proving conclusively that Swallows do not spend winter in the bottom of ponds.

Swallows winter in Africa and return to the Western Isles to breed each summer. Some arrive in March, but the majority do not arrive until April when there is plenty of food (flying insects). This is where the expression "One Swallow doesn't make a summer" comes from

Tuesday 24th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

North Ford - South Uist

Tuesday 24th March, 2009 American Wigeon

Buail Uach Draich - South Uist


The results of a new study by The RSPB show that a large number of new wind farms can be built in the UK
with no threat to wildlife if built in the right areas

Read more: RSPB windfarm study
Telegraph 24th March, 2009

I am not sure if the Osprey is a rare visitor in Lewis – I have never seen one here given I see White Tails
and Golden Eagles frequently. Any way sat on a post until I disturbed it by reversing back for a second look
was an Osprey. Lewis. 07:15 Tuesday 24 March 2009. 

Paul B

Monday 23rd March, 2009 Pied Wagtail Barraglom - Great Bernera
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Motacilla alba yarrellii
  • UK: summer 293,000 pairs BTO
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • WI: Uncommon Migrant Breeder (10-99 breeding pairs), Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers), mainly absent in winter
  • Distribution: Europe, Asia, North West Africa. Resident in temperate parts of it's range (UK Leaves highland & northern areas of Scotland, WI in winter) elsewise in winter migrates south to Africa
  • Habitat: Most areas 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)
  • Similar birds: White wagtail (European bird - see it spring & autumn), Citrine Wagtail (very rare - yellowish) , Yellow Wagtail (Rare)
Sunday 23rd March, 2009 Pomarine Skua

Aird an Runair - North Uist

(1 sighting in two hours sea watching)

  • Pomarine Skua (From Latin pomarin : covered nose - the cere on the bill)
  • Stercorarius pomarinus
  • Gaelic: Fàsgadair donn
  • WI: Fairly common spring passage visitor (small numbers) & usually scarce in autumn (very small numbers)
    See at seawatching places late April - May & Aug - Nov
  • Breeds: Arctic tundra & Islands: Greenland, North Russia, North of America, North Europe, North Asia
  • Winters: Seacoasts: Tropical oceans, West African coast
  • 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.
  • Diet: Breeding grounds: Lemmings (small rodents). Elsewise eggs, other birds (will kill a Common Gull), winter fish. Pirate (will steal from a Gannet!), scavenges
  • Similar birds: Arctic skua, Long-tailed Skua, Great Skua


Pomarine Skua winter in tropical oceans and on the West African coast. In March they begin their journey to their Arctic tundra breeding grounds (They do not breed in the UK).

The Pomarine Skuas reach the North Atlantic in April, and the last week of April and first three weeks of May is their time of peak passage in Britain and Ireland. The sea-watching point Aird an Runair at Balranald in North Uist is one of the best places in the UK to see this spring passage from.

Sunday 23rd March, 2009 Manx Shearwater

Aird an Runair - North Uist

(1 sighting in two hours sea watching)

  • Manx Shearwater (Manxie, Cockersudie, Cockersootie, Puffin, Puffing, Lyre, Lyrie, Liri)
  • Puffinus puffinus
  • UK: AMBER LIST, 295 thousand pairs (Summer) BTO
  • UK: Migrant Breeder
  • WI: Common migrant breeder (1000 -10,000 pairs) and abundant passage visitor (occurs in large numbers)
  • Breeds: Colonies on rat-free North Atlantic islands. Burrows & coastal cliffs. Just one white egg - only visited at night-time so avoiding large gull predation. Leaves breeding site in July, migrates to South American coast for winter, returns late February and March.
  • Diet: From surface or diving: Mostly fish, (especially) herrings, sardines and sprats, small crustaceans, offal
  • Small shearwater, (30-38cm long). Long, straight, slender wings. Black upperparts. White underparts.
  • Bird most often seen in flight from West coast sea-watching points on spring and autumn migration. Cross-shaped. Very low-flying (wingtips almost touch sea). Wings stiff, few beats, bird changes colour - black to white as alternately the upper and below parts are exposed as it dips from one side to the other, shearing/banking over the sea.
  • Lives mostly at sea out of breeding season (Pelagic). Forms life-long monogamous pair-bonds.
  • Average lifespan 5yrs, Max recorded 40yr 10mths (longest living bird in UK). One bird said to have lived 55 years!
  • Listen to a Manx Shearwater (RSPB site). It is said that the Vikings, on hearing the call of the Manxie on the Isle of Isle of Rum were terrified that the locals were trolls!
  • Similar birds: Sooty Shearwater (Also Cory's Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater but they are rare)
Wheatear - Single Male yesterday afternoon, (Saturday) in Borve, Lewis

Grahame and Jackie
Black-throated Diver Black-throated Diver "Highlight of the day was seeing a pair of Black-throated Divers, right near the edge of a loch.
It was the nearest I have been to any divers and I was able to very clearly see their stunning markings".
Sunday 22nd March, 2009 Black-throated Diver (2)  

There are an estimated 217 breeding pairs of black-throated diver in the UK, about 20 of these pairs are in the Western Isles so our population is of national importance. We also see them around the coast sometimes in winter. (RSPB estimate 700 UK wintering birds)

RSPB and SNH have found that in the last 12 years black-throated divers have increased in numbers in the UK by 34%, and red-throated divers by 16%, with the greatest increase in breeding birds being in the Western Isles, and improved numbers in the Highlands.

Both species have however declined in Europe. So in September 2007 the black-throated diver was made a conservation priority by the UK government.

A black-throated diver's legs are a long-way back on it's body, this helps make the bird a great swimmer but barely able to walk on land, so the bird builds it's nest very close to the water's edge. A nest located like this is very vulnerable to flooding, so many eggs get lost, and numbers are further reduced by predators and egg-collectors.

Someone had the bright idea of building the birds anchored rafts to nest on in safe areas in the middle of remote lochs. 58 have been created and numbers have increased ...

Sunday 22nd March, 2009 Pied Wagtail Kirkibost - Great Bernera    
Sunday 22nd March, 2009 Redwings

Bosta 1
Kirkibost 6
- Great Bernera

  • Redwing
  • Turdus iliacus
  • Gaelic: Deargan-sneachda
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage / Winter Visitor
  • UK: Summer: 2 -22 pairs breeding. AMBER LIST
  • UK: Winter: 750,000 in UK. (Arrives Sept-Oct, leaves Mar- Apr) BTO
  • WI: Fairly common passage visitor (occurs in small numbers) & fairly common winter visitor (occurs in small numbers)
  • Breeds: North Europe (not WI), Asia
  • Winters: South Europe - UK, South Asia
  • Habitat: Northern birch or conifer forest & tundra scrub, open land
  • UK's smallest thrush (19-23cm). Dark russet-brown above, heavily streaked white underparts. Glowing chesnut-red flanks & underwing. Creamy-white stripe above eye, another beneath it's cheek. Bill pale with a black tip. Legs pale pinkish-brown. In flight the chesnut-red underwing can be seen -giving the bird it's name. Forms large flocks (with starlings & fieldfares). Sexes similar
  • Lives uo to 18 years
  • Diet: Omnivorous: Insects, earthworms (plus berries autumn & winter)
  • Listen to a Redwing (RSPB site)
  • Similar bird Song Thrush

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust would also like to receive reports of Whooper Swans

Kane Brides
Species Monitoring Unit
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Sunday 22nd March, 2009 Whooper Swans 5 (3 juv) Loch a' Sgail - Bernera
  • Whooper Swan
  • Cygnus cygnus
  • Gaelic: Eala
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 3-7 wild pairs 6,920 birds RSPB
  • UK: Scarce Breeder, Winter Visitor , scarce in summer (very small numbers recorded in most years). The wintering population of Barra and the Uists is of national importance
  • Breeds: Nest huge mound of vegetation. Often on small islet. Lays 4-6 white eggs, incubated by female. Guarded by Male. Northern Atlantic: Sub-Arctic Iceland, Europe, Asia,
  • Winters: South of breeding range to Africa, India, China (In UK Oct - Mar)
  • Habitat: Large areas of water: lakes, marshes, rivers, estuaries, wetlands,
  • Diet: They swim, straining water for food, also eat aquatic plants growing at bottom. Also some grazing on land, grass, grain, potatoes
  • Larger than Bewick's Swan. Black legs. Triangular-shaped black bill that has a large patch of yellow on it (always more yellow than black - Bewick's Swans always have more black than yellow). Tend to fly in formation (Bewick's Swans usually do not). Juvenile grey or brown with pink & grey bill.
  • Max recorded age 26yrs 6mths. Typical lifespan 9yrs
  • Listen to a Whooper Swan (RSPB site) The noisiest of the Swans - deep honking calls when in flight (Bewick's Swans are usually silent)
  • Similar birds: Bewick's Swan (rare here), Mute Swan

Whooper swans pair for life, and their cygnets stay with them all winter; family groups sometimes include offspring from previous years.


Two Canada Geese at Garynahine Lewis
Saturday 21st March, 2009
Lovely to see a male stonechat singing on top of a gorse bush again!
Linshader, Lewis
Saturday 21st March, 2009 Stonechat Callanish - Isle of Lewis
  • Stonechat
  • Saxicola torquata
  • Gaelic: Gocan, Clacharan
  • UK: AMBER LIST, 15,000 pairs (summer) BTO
  • UK: Resident/migrant breeder
  • WI: Uncommon resident or migrant breeder (10-99 breeding pairs). Scarce in Lewis and Harris
  • Breeds: Nests beneath gorse bushes, heather. Resident in Europe, Asia, Africa.
  • Habitat: Heaths, scrub, conifer plantations, coastal sites, open country
  • Diet: Insect-eater. Hunts from perch, also forages seeds & fruits (berries) on ground
  • Plump little bird, about the same size of a robin (11.5-13cm). Pointed Beak. Shows white rump (above tail) when flying. Breeding male strong coloured orange-buff breast. Black head & throat. Dark-brown upperparts. Contrasting white patch on cheek-neck area. Faded in autumn.
    Female similar pattern, but brown instead of black. More heavily streaked. Paler orange-tinged breast
  • Max recorded age 8yrs 1mth.
  • Listen to a Stonechat (RSPB site) Call is like two stones tapped together "trak- trak"
  • Similar birds: Whinchat

Probable Swallow in Ness on Friday afternoon
Julie S

Pied wagtail back at Dail Beag Car park,( Lewis)

Friday 20th March, 2009
Wood Pigeon in Achmore on Thursday HUGE!

Pied Wagtail in Callanish, first I have seen this year
Thursday 19th March, 2009

3 Redwings in Croir, Great Bernera on Thursday

Skylark singing at Callanish Stones today
Thursday 19th March, 2009
First day when the insects are dancing in the sunshine, and the insect eaters have arrived!
Thursday 19th March, 2009
Thursday 19th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar - South Uist

Monday 16th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull (3 juv)

Balranald RSPB - North Uist

Monday 16th March, 2009 Iceland Gull

Balranald RSPB - Nprth Uist

Stornoway Harbour (2 juv)

Pied Wagtail down on the rocky cliff by the sea first this year and in an unusual place, also saw my first Bumble Bee of the year today
Sunny H
Croir, Bernera
Sunday 15th March, 2009
Sunday 15th March, 2009 Iceland Gull

Loch Stiapabhat - Ness

Sunday 15th March, 2009 Snow Bunting (11) Port of Ness - lewis
  • Snow Bunting (Snowflake, Snaa Fuhl)
  • Plectrophenax nivalis
  • Gaelic: Gealag-an-t-sneachd
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: AMBER LIST 70 - 100 prs (Summer) 11,000 birds (Winter) RSPB
  • Breeds: Tundra, treeless moorland (rock crevices). 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
  • 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 to a Snow Bunting (RSPB site)

Highland News Article mentioning Eiders in South Uist
March 19th, 2009


Lovely day today, Starlings full voice. Just saw a pair of Stonechats on the garden fence,
Greenfinch pair foraging under the bird table.
The birds are all so busy and I just saw my first Bumble Bee this year.
It's Spring!
19th March, 2009

A burst of sunshine, Spring has set in and I was delighted to see a
Red-throated Diver back on a loch (Lewis)
no Black-headed Gulls at their breeding site yet but the Oystercatchers and
the Lapwings are back where they were last year. The House Sparrows are
very much in the mood - it looks like they will be sitting soon.
Wonderful to hear birdsong again.

Chiffchaff in the garden here today (and Anne tells me she saw it
yesterday). Also 29 Whooper Swans N at 11.12 hours.
Brian R
North Uist
  • Chiffchaff
  • Phylloscopus collybita
  • Gaelic: Caifean
  • UK: 700,000-800,000 pairs breeding (summer) , winter 500-1000 birds
  • UK: Migrant breeder
  • WI :Rare migrant breeder (1-9 breeding records), otherwise uncommon passage visitor (low numbers)
  • Diet: Insect-eater: Insects, fruit, nectar
  • Tiny warbler - wren-sized 10-11cm. Round head. Short wings. Long tail. Olive-brown upperparts (yellowish tinged). Underparts pale-buff. Pale stripe through eye (with a dark smudge through it). Brown wings which have no wingbars. Brown tail.Similar to a Willow Warbler but is brighter coloured and has dark blackish legs. Colouring is generally brighter in autumn.
  • Listen to a Chiffchaff (RSPB site)


The Chiffchaff has been described as elusive, active, confident (and exasperating!) in nature.

Goldfinch seen on Swainbost machair near the old cemetery this afternoon

Julie S

Tuesday 17th March, 2009

  • Goldfinch
  • Carduelis carduelis
  • Gaelic: Deargan-froich
  • UK: Summer 313,000 pairs BTO. Winter: 100,000 birds (RSPB)
  • WI: Uncommon (low numbers) passage and winter visitor. There is a breeding record.
  • Breeding: Often breeds in loose colonies. Cup nest in a bush. Lays 4-6 black-speckled eggs. Europe, Asia (Australia & New Zealand introduced).
  • Wintering: Northernmost birds migrate south within the breeding range. Many UK Goldfinches migrate to Spain
  • Habitat: Open country with plenty of seeds: woodland, farmland, villages (bird feeders)
  • Diet: Small seeds: thistles, daisies, teasels & self-heal. Has a longish very pointed bill for seed extraction. Summer some insects
  • Slim, dainty finch 12-13cm length. Bright red face bordered by white. Back of head & nape black. Upper parts brown. Yellow wing patch which shows as a broad yellow wingbar in flight. White rump (above tail). Black, slightly forked tail. Male's red face extends behind the eye, female's red reaches front of eye or extends only 1-2mm behind eye . Juveniles plain head & greyer back but still have the yellow wing patch. Sociable, in winter forms flock of up to 40 birds.
  • Typical age 2yrs, oldest recorded 8yrs 8mths
  • Listen to a Goldfinch (RSPB site). Tinkling call & twittering song
  • Similar birds: Greenfinch

The Latin name for the Goldfinch is from carduus, thistle, the seed of which is a typical part of the diet of the Goldfinch.

A colourful bird with a pleasant song the Goldfinch was and still is a popular caged bird. Via escapes and releases it was introduced to Australia and New Zealand where it now forms vast colonies.

Two or more finches are called a charm.


Outer Hebrides Bird Report Cover

Outer Hebrides Bird Report 2005/2006

The Outer Hebrides Bird Report has been redesigned by a team of local birders,
and this new style has 250 pages, and features several plates of colour photos.

The Bird Report is a fascinating read for anyone birding here, and very useful
when wanting to get an idea of how likely you are to see a bird in a particular area
when narrowing down the ID, from a beginner dubious about ducks to an expert
picking between pipits.

Read more about the Outer Hebrides Bird Report

Whooper Swan At 12.45 hours today a flock of 52 Whoopers headed N at Carinish

Brian Rabbitts
Monday 16th March, 2009


The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust would also like to receive reports of Whooper Swans

Our other Whooper (Z96) Lars, has bypassed Uist and is currently on Loch Barabhat on Lewis. This bird left Martin Mere on 11/03/2009, spent a day or so around the Solway. On the 13th at 02:00am it was flying over Glasgow and at 04:00am touched down on Castle Semple Loch on Lochwinnoch. Reports from birders say that 56 Whoopers left Castle Semple Loch at 10am on 13/03/2009 (inc Z96), (presumably) all of them flew over Mull and landed on Loch Barabaht at 18:00hrs on the 13/03/2009.

Kane Brides
Species Monitoring Unit
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Andy saw a group of Whooper Swans in Lewis last year, he reported it and the record got sent to Anna Jordan the Swan Database Officer (Whoopers and Bewick’s) at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Anna sent back the history of the ringed bird, it gives a family history of a Whooper going through Lewis and shows how much we learn from the ringing and tag reading as well as how far these birds travel.
See the report about Whooper Swans in the Western Isles

A couple of greenfinch arrived on 15th March and often join my 7 goldfinch at the peanut feeder. The goldfinch tolerate the greenfinch. They probably flock together as I counted 9 in the flock. My resident chaffinch come to the feeder but are scared of the aggressive goldfinch especialy its face. The goldfinch threat behaviour is is a brief hover holding its face stationary to the other bird. If its 2 goldfinch they often fly up together facing each other. Also I saw a redwing today.
John P.
Friday 13th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Tiumpanhead - Isle of Lewis

  • Glaucous Gull
  • Larus hyperboreus
  • Gaelic: Faoileag-mhor
  • UK: Winter Visitor, 200+ UK (winter) RSPB
  • WI: Uncommon winter and passage visitor (low numbers). Scarce in summer (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • Breeds: Bird nests on ground or cliffs. Arctic & Northern Atlantic European coasts: Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America.
  • Winters: Mostly North Atlantic & North Pacific oceans, some go as far south as Northern Mexico
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes, rubbish tips, reservoirs, fishing ports (with other winter gulls)
  • Large gull. Bigger, bulkier bird 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
  • 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 Hull, Iceland Gull
Friday 13th March, 2009 Greater Scaup Tiumpanhead Loch - isle of Lewis
  • Scaup
  • Aythya marila
  • Gaelic: Lach-mhara
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 1-5 birds breed in the UK (rarest breeding duck). 9200 birds winter RSPB
  • Scarce Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor Mainly in winter, from late October to March.
  • Breeding: Nests on ground by lakes, bogs ( tundra) across Arctic & subarctic Northern America, Europe, Asia
  • Winters: Forms flocks in coastal waters. South of breeding range to South Europe, China, South US
  • Habitat: Tundra lakes (migration open lakes, coasts)
  • Diet: Omnivorous. Feeds by diving & swimming underwater. (Molluscs - winter) Othe shellfish, crustaceans & small insects. Some plant material
  • Diving duck (42-51cm length). Resembles tufted duck. Male: black head with green sheen. Black shoulder & breast, white flanks, grey back, black tail. White rump. Females brown with white band at base of bill. Flight shows white patches along trailing edge of the wing. Blue bill. Yellow eyes.
  • Max recorded age 14yrs
  • Listen to a Scaup (RSPB site) Usually silent when not breeding
  • Similar birds: Tufted Duck (common - black back), Ring-necked Duck (rare - black back, strong white band around bill), Lesser Scaup (rare - whitish back)
Thursday 12th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Stornoway Harbour - Isle of Lewis

Wednesday 11th March, 2009 Iceland Gull

Ardvule Point - South Uist

  • Iceland Gull
  • Larus glaucoides
  • Gaelic: Faoileag-liath
  • UK: Uncommon winter and passage visitor , scarce in summer
  • UK: 70 - 80 birds (usually singular) winter in UK RSPB
  • UK: Uncommon winter and passage visitor (recorded in low numbers each year), scarce in summer (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • 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
  • 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
  • Similar birds: Glaucous gull (they're usually larger & more frequent)
Wednesday 11th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Drimsdale - South Uist

Tuesday 10th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull Garrynamonie - South Uist    
Dont know if it is important, or of any interest, but another name for the red face of a Goldfinch is the blaze.

From 5th March to at least today, 9th March 2009 we have had 7or 8 Goldfinch at our peanut bird feeders several times a day. Thanks to your site and as they are just a couple of feet from my window I should be able to see if they are male or female.

I am in my little wood at 4 Ardveenish.

John P
      Male or Female Goldfinch?

On the male Goldfinch the part of the red face of which is just above the bird's eye extends back several mm behind the eye, but on the female it only reaches the front of the eye or extends just one or two mm behind the eye.

Male Goldfinch
Female Goldfinch
Male Goldfinch
Female Goldfinch

Red extends back several mm behind eye

Red just reaches front of eye or extends only 1-2mm behind eye
Monday 9th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Peninerine + Aird Michael + Ardivachar + Gulan Spit - South Uist

Monday 9th March, 2009 Iceland Gull

Ardvule Point - South Uist

  • Iceland Gull
  • Larus glaucoides
  • Gaelic: Faoileag-liath
  • UK: Uncommon winter and passage visitor , scarce in summer
  • UK: 70 - 80 birds (usually singular) winter in UK RSPB
  • UK: Uncommon winter and passage visitor (recorded in low numbers each year), scarce in summer (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • 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
  • 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
  • Similar birds: Glaucous gull (they're usually larger & more frequent)
Monday 9th March, 2009 American Wigeon

North Ford - South Uist

(Nr Hebridean Jewellery)

  • American Wigeon (Wigeon, Widgeon, Baldpate)
  • UK: Scarce visitor, 6 annual records BTO
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Breeds North-West & Central America
  • Winters: South USA to Northerly South America. Gregarious outside of breeding season
  • Habitat: Open wetlands, wet grassland, marshes lochs, wet meadows (usually with some taller vegetation) Migration also rivers, estuaries
  • Diet: (Herbivore) Grazing for food - has short serrated-edged bill. Herbs, grasses, Wigeon grass, eelgrass, algae, roots. Also dabbling, pondweeds & other aquatic plants
  • Dabbling duck. Adult male in breeding season: pinkish brown body, greyish head with greenish eye patch, creamy white crown stripe (Common Wigeon's is creamy-buff/yellowish-orange) , black rear-end, white wing-patch (speculum). Non-breeding male fairly similar to female. Female light-brown, & similar to female Mallard.
  • Similar bird: Wigeon. Female & male American Wigeon out of breeding season similar to Mallard
Sunday 8th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Aird an Runair + Gulan Spit + North Ford - South Uist

Sunday 8th March, 2009 Iceland Gull

Loch Sandary - South Uist

Saturday 7th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Ardivachar Point + Gulan Spit + North Ford - South Uist

Friday 6th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Ardvule + Stoneybridge + Gulan Spit - South Uist

Thursday 6th March, 2009 American Wigeon North Ford - South Uist    
Saw a male Goldfinch in the garden of The Old Manse , Scalpay today about 13:00 . (Looking a bit thin and weather beaten) enjoying some peanuts.
Friday 6th March, 2009
Thursday 5th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Gualan Spit + Arvule + Stoneybridge - South Uist

Wednesday 5th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull Gualan Sipt + Ardivachar Point - South Uist    
Wednesday 5th March, 2009 American Wigeon North Ford - South Uist    
Tuesday 4th March, 2009 Glaucous Gull Gualan Sipt + Ardivachar Point - South Uist    
Tuesday 4th March, 2009 American Wigeon North Ford - South Uist    
"looked out of the window and saw a Sparrowhawkout on the lawn just like a rock dove, it was huge, must have been a female"
Tuesday 3rd March, 2009 Sparrowhawk Uig
  • Sparrowhawk (Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Hawk, Sprawk, Spazz, Northern Sparrow Hawk, Northern Sparrowhawk, Sparrow Hawk, Musket)
  • Accipiter nisus
  • Gaelic: Speireag
  • UK: Summer 39,000 pairs
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • WI: Scarce passage mainly autumn (very small numbers recorded in most years), scarce winter visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • Breeds: Mainly resident in Europe, Asia
  • Winters: Northernmost breeders migrate south for winter, as far Africa & India.
  • Habitat: Woodlands, hedgerows, parks, gardens, fields, cultivated areas
  • Small raptor. Wings broad, rounded. Does not hover. Flight pattern flap, flap, glide
    Adult male: 29-34 cm, 11-13inches length. Slate-grey back. White underparts (with reddish-orange barring). Long, grey tail with dark bars.
    Female larger (by up to 25%) & heavier built. Brown above. Dark barring below. White stripe over eye.
    Juvenile brown above & barred brown below.
  • Diet: Small birds. Wing & tail shape are adaptations for weaving through trees at high speed. Bird relies on surprise as it bursts out from perch or cover & pursues prey for short distance
  • Max recorded age 20yr 3mth. Typical lifespan 3 yrs
  • Listen to a Sparrowhawk (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Kestrel, Goshawk (very rare here), Merlin, (vertical streaking), Cuckoo !(here spring/summer)
Monday 2nd March, 2009 Glaucous Gull

Polochar + Daliburgh + Baile Garbhaidh + Ardivachar Point - South Uist

Monday 2nd March, 2009 Greenland White-fronted Geese Nunton - Benbecula
  • White-fronted Goose
  • Anser albifrons
  • WI: Anser albifrons albifrons is a fairly common (occurs in small numbers) passage and uncommon (recorded in low numbers each year) winter visitor
Monday 2nd March, 2009 American Wigeon North Ford - South Uist    
Monday 2nd March, 2009 Green-winged Teal North Ford - South Uist
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Anas carolinensis
  • UK: Scarce vistor, 22 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • 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


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