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 Bird Sightings Records : Hebrides : November 2008

 

 

 

 

   This table is Hebrides Bird Sightings period November 2008
Sorry this is such a late report.

Waxwing in my garden at The Old Manse on Scalpay , Tuesday 18th November about
10:00 am , was gone in a few minutes though.

Simon

Saturday 29th November, 2008 Barnacle Geese (700+) Berneray Machair    
Saturday 29th November, 2008 Richardson's Canada Goose Berneray Machair    
Thursday, 28th November 2008 Glaucous Gull North Bay - South Uist    
short report kestrel hovering over bayble moor yesterday
Andyl
Wednesday, 27th November 2008 Kestrel Bayble - Isle of Lewis
  • Kestrel (Common Kestrel, Windhover, European Kestrel, Eurasian Kestrel, Old World Kestrel, Stonegall, Stangilla, Stone Yeller, Standgale, Standgall, Stand Hawk, Steingale, Stanniel, Stanyel, Stannyel, Stannel Hawk, Stanchel, Tower Falcon, Church Falcon)
  • Falco tinnunculus
  • Gaelic: Speireag-ruadh
  • AMBER LIST, UK 37,000 breeding pairs BTO
  • WI: Uncommon resident breeder Uists (10-99 breeding pairs), rare breeder Lewis/Harris (Less than annual breeder) and passage visitor (under 30 records?)
  • Distribution: Europe, Asia, Africa
  • Habitat: Prefers open country: grassland, heathland, moorland, farmland (also in urban areas & roadsides). Often chooses a high perch: trees, telephone post & wires etc watching for prey. (Will use a crow's nest)
  • Diet: Mostly small mammals - voles, birds, insects, earthworms, frogs
  • Only "brown" falcon in UK. Head to tail 34 – 38cm (13 - 15in) Female usually largest. Mostly cinnamon-brown above with dark spots. Creamy below. Long tail of both sexes has black tip & narrow white rim. Pointed wings. Black eye stripe.
    Male: Blue-grey head & uppertail (tail unbarred)
    Female: Brown head & brown tail with fine black bars (some do have grey in their uppertails)
    Juvenile: (Juveniles & adult females similar so can be tricky). More yellowish-brown above. Breast streaking darker, less distinct pattern (diffuse). Primary feathers sometimes pale-tipped, forming pale band along front edges of wings
    Hovers 10 - 50m above ground, tail spread fan-like. Very little gliding. Prey in sight a Kestrel makes a short & steep dive toward it.
  • Max recorded age 15yrs 11mths
  • Listen to a Kestrel (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Sparrowhawk, Merlin, hobby
 
Wednesday 26th November, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist    
'Little Egret near the tearooms at Callanish in the pools on the saltmarsh - by the loch this afternoon, such gleaming white even I could not miss it!!'
EM
Tuesday 25th November, 2008 Little Egret

Raven's Lane Tong

Loch nr Callanish Tearooms

   
Tuesday 25th November, 2008 Waxwings Barvas - Isle of Lewis    
Tuesday 25th November, 2008 Snow Bunting (45+) Eochar Machair - South Uist    
Tuesday 25th November, 2008 Iceland Gull

Leverburgh - Isle of Harris

Stornoway Harbour (2)

   

 

'Last night I discovered what appears to be a European Storm-petrel in the building I work in. It probably flew thought the opened hanger doors where it became trapped. I believe it's injured as it's tail feathers are not symmetrical and it does not make an effort to take to wing. I have it at home in a large ventilated box and i don't know what to do with it. I've been trying to feed it fish and water. Do you have any suggestions on how I should care for it? After doing some research I understand they are common to the UK and migrate to the African coast this time of year. I have to say, I have never seen one of these critters around these parts before. Funny thing is, we are about 30 mins from the coast ourselves. Where do I go from here?'
Bill C
Newfoundland, Canada

 

Passed this one onto Martin who was caring for an injured Stormie a couple of weeks back ...

 

 

'Firstly a photo to confirm identification would be useful.

Secondly, if it is a storm petrel, they are pretty fickle. I am guessing that it will have been deposited by a recent storm so is likely to be exhausted. The level of exhaustion is critical. If they are too exhausted they can live for c72 hours no matter how much they feed as they unable to increase what is technically known as their 'fat score'

If there are no obvious other signs of trauma (broken wing, flesh wounds, oiling etc) best to try and get some food inside it.

In the wild stormies are really plankton feeders - so you have to try and replicate. Not easy! we mashed up a tin of anchovies and olive oil and put it as a slick on water. We had it in a shallow sided bowl, but it seemed to struggle with this, and then did it in the bath. Stormies feed with their wings raised in the wild. Our one tried this - it looks rather odd in the bath

See photo

If it wont feed you are going to have problems. They wont eat large bits of fish but may if it is pulped, but the real crucial thing is it will have to be on the water surfaceIf it survives 48 hours worth getting a local vetinary to give it a once over.

Look forward to seeing a pic...

I have past this onto an internationaly known birder who is also lives in Newfoundland. He may get in touch'
Martin


Tuesday 25th November, 2008

 

Anchovie 'slick' in the bath?
Salutations to all those understanding folk who live in that household!

Later:

.'...I'm interested in the identification of the bird. You mention it being a European Storm Petrel - did you consider/know about the more common species here (CANADA) (Leach's or Wilson's Storm Petrel)?? If you had some digital pictures of the bird that might be helpful - especially of the underbelly and underwings.

I hope the bird gets better - if you are able to help the bird survive but it seems like it still needs care, I can help you find someone here in the province who might be able to take it. If it dies, please keep the carcass (frozen in a sealed bag) if at all possible.

J.C
Basic Medical Sciences (Neuroscience), Faculty of Medicine
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL, Canada'

 

Looked into if anyone in our area is interested in ID of dead birds & wanting the remains to check (including which species they want)
Here is the reply from Martin Scott RSPB:

 

'best option is to email a pic to me first and put bird in freezer till ID confirmed.

I do have access to larger freezers for larger specimens, and there are various projects that arise now and again looking for specimens. Rarer and good quality specimens we send in batches to the Royal Museum in Edinburgh who have a skin collection.

Raptors we often get post-mortems done on in case of foul play etc

The reason Jared wants to check the id as if it is a European Stormie it will be the first Canadian record!'

MSS

(Be safe to other birds and ourselves, wear gloves, wash hands etc...)

 

Visitors to your website might be interested in signing up to the following pledge
 
 
Birds of prey continue to be killed, despite the fact that it is illegal and has been for decades. We, the RSPB, are calling for an end to this unacceptable cruelty, but the campaign can only be effective with your help. Please add your voice to the growing number of people that say the killing must stop.
 
Regards
 
Martin
 
RSPB Conservation Officer (Western Isles)
Office 2
Clintons Yard
Rigs Road
Stornoway
Isle of Lewis
Western Isles
HS1 2RF
Tel: 01851 703296
Monday 24th November, 2008 Iceland Gull Leverburgh - Isle of Harris    
Monday 24th November, 2008 Waxwings Stornoway + Laxdale - Isle of Lewis    
Monday 24th November, 2008 Brown Shrike Beinn Risearaidh Plantation - Nr Vallay Stand - North Uist 1st winter bird
  • Brown Shrike
  • Lanius cristatus
  • UK: Less than 20 records BTO
  • UK: Rare vagrant
  • WI: First record? TBC
  • Breeds: Nests in tree or bush. Lays 2-6 eggs. Central & eastern Asia
  • Winters: Africa, SE Asia, Indonesia
  • Habitat: taiga (moist subarctic coniferous forest begins where tundra ends), pen woodland, deciduous forest, scrub, savanna, farmland, semi-desert
  • Diet: Hunts from high perch. Mainly insects (mostly. beetles) also small mammals, birds, lizards. Like other shrikes impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a larder
  • Small shrike. Long-tailed. Perches upright. Adult male's above & crown darkish-brown. White face has black mask through eye. Yellowish-buff below
  • Similar birds: Red-backed Shrike, Isabelline Shrike

The Brown Shrike was officially split from the Isabelline Shrikes and the Red-backed Shrike in 1980
The first British record accepted by the rarities committee occured in Shetland in 1980

Visually similar to the Isabelline Shrike but browner above, tail is also browner (rather than reddish-brown) and is the same colour as the mantle. Unlike Isabelline Shikes there is no white at the base of the primaries.

See photos of a Brown Shrike on WIKI

Birdguides class it as a MEGA, there also also photos of a Brown Shrike on Birdguides (public accessible page) and a report of one in the Scilly Isles in October

 

 
Sunday 23rd November, 2008 Glaucous Gull Ardivachar - South Uist    
Sunday 23rd November, 2008 Long-billed Dowitcher West Gerenish - South Uist
  • Long-billed Dowitcher
  • Limnodromus scolopaceus
  • UK: Accidental
  • UK: 3 records annually BTO
  • WI: Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC
  • Breeding: Nests on ground nr water. Wet Tundra. N Siberia, Alaska, E Siberia
  • Winters: S US, Central America vagant to Europe
  • Habitat: Tundra, wet grassland (migration estuaries, beaches).Often nr fresh water
  • Diet: Forages by probing shallow water or wet mud. Mostly insects, molluscs, crustaceans aquatic worms(also some plant material)
  • Adult bird yellowish legs & very long straight dark bill. Summer body dark-brown above & reddish below. Throat & breast spotted. Bars on flanks. Tail black & white barred pattern. Winter bird mostly greyish.

A bird that breeds in places like Alaska, and usually migrates to Central & Southern America the Long-billed Dowitcher is a rare but regular vagrant to Europe. When it does reach the UK it will often stay for quite a long time.

 
Saturday 22nd November, 2008 Long-billed Dowitcher Loch Bee - South Uist    
Saturday 22nd November, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist    
Friday 21st November, 2009 Iceland Gull Stornoway    
Friday 21st November, 2009 Waxwings (11) Stornoway    
Friday 21st November, 2009 Snowy Owl nr Lochmaddy School - North Uist
  • Snowy Owl
  • Nyctea scandiaca, Bubo scandiacus
  • Gaelic: Comhachag-bhan
  • UK: 3 records a year (BTO) (1958-2004 total of 159 records)
  • UK: accidental, former breeder
  • WI: Scarce vagrant (very small numbers recorded in most years) TBC
  • Distribution: Primarily resident circumpolar - North of the Arctic Circle. Europe, North Asia, North North America. Nomadic bird - shortage of prey forces it to more Southern tundra breeding sites. Nests on ground - a scrape on a mound, rock or gravel bar. (Areas with good visibility & good hunting). An abandoned eagle nest sometimes used. Breeds in May, laying 5 -14 eggs). Winter: fields & prairie
  • Diet: Hunting style "sitting and waiting", bird has sharp talons & catches prey on ground, in air or fish from surface of water. Lemmings, voles & other rodents, small birds , fish, carrion
  • All white. Upright stance. Body barrel-shaped. Head rounded. Eyes yellow & staring. Bill black. Male almost pure white. Female (largest bird) & young covered with narrow black bars & crescent-shaped spots. Heavily feathered feet (together with bird's thick plumage suitable for life in the Arctic)
 
A quick visit to our neighbours at the Icelandic Birding Pages whilst the wind blows from the North:

Birds rare in Iceland 10th to 21st November 2008 included:

Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk,Bohemain Waxwings, Blackcaps, European Robin, Common Goldeneye, Eurasian Woodcocks, Common Crossbills, Songthrush, Common Chiffchaffs, White Morph Gyr and two Grey Herons


The big finds there at the moment are the Goldfinch and Sparrowhawk, both of which are only the 6th occurences in Iceland - a white morph Gyr caused less excitement!

Western Isles today Iceland
Light snow
4° C
17mph
Northerly
Sunrise 08:25 (GMT)
Sunset 15:56 (GMT)
Light snow
1° C
9mph
Northerly
Sunrise 10:13 (GMT)
Sunset 16:12 (GMT)

 

Thank-you Yann

If I have understood correctly, reports on other sites say that the Shrike
at Vallay Strand, North Uist on Tuesday was a Brown Shrike not an
Isabelline Shrike, so was an even rarer visitor!


An estimated 40,000 of litres of oil have contaminated the shoreline and water in Loch Carnan in South Uist.
Oil from a diesel-fuelled power station soaked into the ground and then seeped into the sea loch endangering wildlife.

A Sepa spokesperson has described the leak as 'significant'.
Western Isles Council acted quickly to contain the spillage and contractors are digging out oil-soaked soil which continues to seep oil into the sea-loch

Read full article
BBC
Wednesday 19th November, 2008

 

See also a much more in depth article on Western Isles Info
Wednesday 19th November, 2008

 

Snowy Owl

 

 

Someone has added some great new photos of a Snowy Owl taken at Melbost Borve in 2007 to the forum, also some other photos well worth a look, even managed to get two eagles sitting side by side!

 

 

'Thanks J & R for contact....Alan please send contact details maybe?
Just for info (anybody counting pennies like me!!!) new RSPB membership form/DD mandate shows fee as low as £2.84 per month......got to be done guys!!!
Apart from RSPB matter....any fellow photographer/wildlife or bird watchers that would like to share info/trips etc please leave contact details with this great Site'
Reg G

:) Plus two possibles for the list for non-RSPB membership group birdings ...

 

'We would be more than interested in an RSPB group'
J&R

That's three on Reg's list toward the quorum of six required to start a local RSPB group so far, (plus Reg is four) so two more needed, email if interested and I will pass your details onto Reg

Tuesday 18th November, 2008

Isabelline Shrike

Vallay Strand - North Uist

Or was it a Brown Shrike?
See above

  • Isabelline Shrike
  • lanius isabellinus
  • UK: Scarce visitor
    UK: 1 record a year BTO
  • WI: Very rare visitor - 1 record
  • Breeds: Open cultivated counry with thorn bushes. SW Asia
  • Winters: Africa, India, Middle East
  • Habitat: Open woodland, scrub, savanna, farmland
  • Slightly smaller than a Starling (16-18cm). Adult sandy-greyish brown upper parts. Buff-white underparts,. Distinctive long, rusty-red coloured tail. Usually small white patch on wings. Usually a black eye-mask, rather like the Wheatear
  • Diet: Hunts from high perch. Mainly insects (mostly. beetles) also small mammals, birds, lizards. Like other shrikes impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a larder
  • Similar birds: Red-backed Shrike, Brown Shrike

This very rare migrant visitor came to us from the South Siberian - Central Asian Steppe, or the Western China tablelands. Somewhere like Kazhakstan.

Isabelline ShrikeIn Europe Isabelline Shrike are mostly seen in the Autumn, and they are usually immature. This is the second Isabelline Shrike ever recorded in the Western Isles. The first was seen in Brue Lewis in September 2006, and the photograph here is one of that bird taken by Martin Scott.

Shrikes are insect eaters, but they also eat small birds and mammals, so they have chunky pointed beaks.
One of the folk names for the Shrike in general is the "Butcher Bird" (Lanius means butcher) they store their catch by impaling it on the thorns of bushes and trees like the Hawthorn, making larders.

Brue has a scarcity of such trees and bushes, so the Isabelline Shrike which visited that area improvised and impaled it's catch upon the nearby barbed wire fences instead.

There are two races of the Isabelline Shrike which are are sometimes considered as separate species
Turkestan Shrike L. i. phoenicuroides breeds in south Siberia and central Asia
Daurian Shrike L. i. isabellinus winters in the tropics

Reports on other web sites say that the Vallay Strand bird is a Turkestan Shrike

 

 
i have just returned from a trip ... and have seen the thread about the long eared owl do you know weather this was a local bird or a visitor that was tired and couldn't find food? Its a sad loss but interesting i am aware that the long eared owl has nested and bred on the island....
i would be interested in being part of a local rspb group .
Andyl
Tuesday 18th November, 2008 Barnacle Geese (800+) Berneray Machair    
Tuesday 18th November, 2008 Richardson's Canada Goose Berneray Machair    

Wildlife Garden Wildlife Garden

Flock of up to 20 waxwings at Anderson Road, Stornoway - Saturday 15 November
WM

Lots of berries down that way perhaps?

'Cotoneaster visited in our own garden!'

 
Hiya
New to Western Isles (moved from Somerset to Gravir,Lewis) end Sept 08
Love the site
have noticed NO local group of RSPB for Western Isles......how/why?
I have contacted Inverness office and they would be happy for a group to form BUT need a suitable number(quorum of 6 was mentioned) so......how do you think we might proceed?
Hope you can help/advise
regards

Reg G

Email if you are interested and I will pass replies to Reg

Monday 17th November, 2008 American Black Tern North Bay - South Uist
  • American Black Tern
  • Chlidonias niger surinamensis
  • UK: 1950 - 2006 1 record BBRC
  • WI: Very rare visitor (First record) TBC
  • Breeding: Usually builds nests over shallow water on floating marsh vegetation. Mostly resident in freshwater wetlands across N United States& C Canada
  • Diet: Does not dive. Forages whilst flying, by dipping down to water's surface. Summer mostly insects, Winter, mostly small fish. Also chases insects in flight
  • Similar birds: White-winged Black Tern

Birdguides show single records in 2006 & 2007 on their American Black Tern page
(photos accessible to public there)

Birdguides also made this their Bird of the Week!
Lots of information there

 
'We would like to let you know of our sighting of a Little Egret this morning.... Weather is atrocious but the 'whiteness' of the bird really stood out and the tide was going out. It few from islet to islet until we lost sight of it. Oh and we watched it from our sitting room window!!!'
Margaret C
Monday 17th November, 2008 Little Egret Loch nan Geireann - Ahmore - North Uist    
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Long-billed Dowitcher Loch Bee - South Uist    
Sunday 16th November, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist    
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Green-winged Teal Loch Bee - South Uist    
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Long-tailed Tits (3) North Bay Barra
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Aegithalos caudatus
  • Gaelic: Ciochan-fada
  • WI: scarce (very small numbers recorded in most years) resident breeder (Stornoway Castle Grounds),
    otherwise rare visitor (30 or less records)
 
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Iceland Gull Loch Paible - North Uist    
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Little Auk (3) Butt of Lewis
  • Little Auk
  • Alle alle
  • Gaelic: Falcag
  • UK: Passage/Winter Visitor
  • WI: Uncommon winter vistor (recorded in low numbers each year)
  • Breeds: Nests: Crevices & under rocks. Forms vast colonies. Coastal mountainsides of Islands in high Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America
  • Winters: At sea - Northern North Atlantic, (wind-driven further south)
  • Starling sized seabird: Black above (& wings), white below. Black stubby bill, short neck & small rounded tail. Winter: lower face & fore-neck go white.
    Flight: Low & direct across sea. Short wings beat very fast (whirring). See from seawatching places late October - February (mainly late October & November)
  • Habitat: Cliffs at coast, or at sea
  • Diet: Forages swimming underwater: Zooplanton (Tiny marine creatures), fish
  • Listen to a Little Auk RSPB site (Good one!)
 
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Storm Petrel Sound of Barra
  • European Storm-petrel
  • Hydrobates pelagicus
  • Gaelic: Annlag, Paraig, Luaireag
  • UK: Migrant Breeder
  • UK: AMBER LIST, 27,000 pairs (Summer) BTO
  • WI: (Possibly) Abundant breeder (10,000+ breeding pairs)
  • See from Westerly seawatching places when a gale blows to shore
  • Breeds: Islands: UK (Western & Northern Isles) & North & West of Europe. Forms colonies. (UK May - September). (Nests: crevices & burrows, holes in stone walls. Visits the nest at night)
  • Winters: Leaves September - October to seas off South Africa
  • Feeds in flocks: planktonic crustaceans & small fish (picked from surface - hovering: wings up in V shape, flutttering & bat-like) Follows ships (comes ashore only to feed at NIGHT)
  • Smallest seabird. (sparrow-sized) . All black, white rump, tail square-tipped or rounded, NOT forked, white rump patch reaches far down the side (Leach's only part-way down) , broad white band on underwing (Leachs' none)
  • Listen to a Storm petrel RSPB site ( trills & purrs, famously described by Charles Oldham as "like a fairy being sick")
  • Similar birds: Leach's Storm Petrel, (forked tails), House Martin
 
'It was such a treat to a get a still and dry day - and then I saw two GN Divers just offshore'
Suzanne
Sunday 16th November, 2008 Great Northern Diver (2) Little Bernera Sound - Great Bernera    
Saturday 15th November, 2008 American Wigeon Loch Bee - South Uist
  • 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
 
Saturday 15th November, 2008 Green-winged Teal Loch Bee - 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

The Green-winged Teal is the American version of our Eurasian or Common Teal

 
Saturday 15th November, 2008 Waxwing (4) Laxdale nr Stornoway
  • Waxwing (Bohemian Waxwing, Chatterer)
  • Bombycilla garrulus
  • Gaelic: Gochan cireaneach
  • UK: 100 birds (winter) BTO
  • UK: Winter visitor
  • WI: Scarce Winter Visitor (Very small numbers each year), very rare (5 or less records) spring vistor
  • Breeding: Nest high up in the branches of trees in mature coniferous forest & birch woodland. Mossy, damp, lichen-rich places. Lays 4 - 6 pale bluish eggs. Northern Scandinavia, Russia. Europe, North America
  • Winters: Not regular. South Europe, South USA
  • Diet: Berries, hawthorn, rowan, cotoneaster. Plant buds. (Breeding season also insects, midges & mosquitoes)
  • Exotic looking bird, reminiscent of a Cockatoo. Starling-sized (18 - 21cm length), but plump, stocky & thick-necked with a short tail. Large sandy-chestnut coloured crest. Very dashing black eye patch & black throat. Pinkish-brown above. Pale sandy-brown below.
    Lower back & rump (above tail) bluish. Undertail plumage chestnut-red. Yellow band at tip of short blackish tail. Dark wings with white bars, yellow markings & small waxy, red patch
  • Waxwings live for up to 12 years
  • Listen to a Waxwing (RSPB site). Call pleasant ringing trill, "srrrr" like a small bell
  • Similar birds: Hawfinch

In some years the Waxwing come in large numbers, these are called irruptions, (irruption definition: to increase rapidly and irregulary in number) they happen when the numbers of Waxwings are too great for their usual feeding grounds. This is an irruption year with flocks of 150+ reported in the islands, and much larger numbers than usual all down the East coast of the UK

 
Hebrides bird sightings - Fieldfare

'Small flocks of Fieldfare and Snow Bunting on the east coast today north of north Tolsta. I have attached a photo of a Fieldfare taken last year at Uig.

Windswept and wet Frank

Later: 'Are you sure that you have the correct alternative title for a Fieldfare. I always thought Stormcock was another name for as Missel Thrush?'

Missel Thrush, Green Woodpecker and Fieldfare all share the folk name Stormcock - I double-checked!

Friday 14th November, 2008 Fieldfare North Tolsta - Isle of Lewis
  • Fieldfare (Stormcock)
  • Turdus pilaris
  • UK: Scarce Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 1- 4 pairs UK (summer), 750,000 birds (Winter) BTO
  • Breeds: Forms colonies. Bombards would-be egg-stealers with faeces, smaller birds nest nearby & share protection. North Europe - UK (not WI)
  • Winters: North to South Africa
  • Habitat: Forest, woodland, scrub, towns
  • Big, bold & beautiful thrush. Plain reddish-brown back. White underwings. Cool grey rump & rear of head. Breast reddish, other underparts white. Breast & flanks heavily spotted. Sexes similar. Gregarious (& forms mixed flocks with Redwings)
  • Diet: Insects, worms & fruit & berries (most so in winter). Favours hawthorn berries
  • Listen to a Fieldfare (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Songthrush, Mistlethrush (rarer)

Fieldfare from the Anglo-Saxon feld-fere - traveller through fields (foraging)

 
Friday 14th November, 2008 Waxwing (7) Nr Post office - Stornoway    
Thursday 13th November, 2008 Grey Phalarope Bragar - Isle of Lewis
  • Grey Phalarope
  • Phalaropus fulicarius
  • Gaelic: Liathag Tllt, Liathag Allt
  • UK: Passage Visitor
  • UK: 166 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce (very small numbers recorded in most years, sometimes more in persistent gales) autumn passage visitor
  • Breeds: Arctic regions: Iceland, Greenland, North Siberia, North America, North Europe
  • Winters in the Southern oceans
  • Diet: Invertebrates, (plus seeds etc when reaching breeding grounds)
  • Habitat: coastal tundra (migration coasts)
  • Small wader (21cm / 8 in length) . Winter mostly grey above & white below, with black eyepatch & straight black bill.
    Breeding female dark brown & black above, red below, white cheek patches & yellow black-tipped bill. Breeding male similar but duller. Young birds light grey & brown above, buff below & dark eye patch
  • Similar birds: Red-necked Phalarope, Wilson's Phalarope
 
Thursday 13th November, 2008 Glaucous Gull Shawbost - 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: 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 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
 
Thursday 13th November, 2008 Iceland Gull Loch Barvas Isle of Lewis
  • 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)
 
Hebrides bird sightings - Yellow-browed Warbler

'This Hume's? Yellow-browed Warbler was sitting in the big privet bush about 3ft from my window, it repeatedly sort of trembled, rather like a sparrow chick does when it is trying to get a parent to feed it. Later it spent the afternoon flitting in and out of my garden

Ceri Dyke

Croir, Great Bernera
Wednesday 12th November, 2008

Hi all,

Can someone please confirm ID of the 'Hume's? ' Yellow-browed warbler?

Does that small yellow patch count as a second wingbar? (which would make it a Yellow-browed)
Legs look pinkish brown which also suggest yellow-browed ..

Is it a Hume's or a Yellow-browed?
Many thanks

Suzanne

 

'It certainly looks like it from the picture I found on this link
http://www.nature-shetland.co.uk/naturelatest/pics08/humes1-bressay.jpg'
John H

'Later... its a close call Suzanne, been looking at other pics I would
think a Hume's going by the slight difference in colour of the legs'.
John H

 


'It is a Yellow-brow, rather than a Hume's.

Yellow-browed Warbler

The later are duller and more washed grey, have darker legs and bill,
and have duller edges to the tertials, with the centres being less
dark too, so overall less of a contrast. The nape is greyer too almost
creating a shoal effect. All pretty subtle.



The call is the best feature - both species tend to be quite vocal.

I note your bird is 'tailless' - maybe a cat has had a go at it?

A few years ago the two were one species, Yellow browed Warbler, with
the first Hume's in Scotland back in the early 1990's near Arbroath. I
remember because I was lucky enough to find that one! The rule of
thumb is that birds from mid Sept tend to be Yellow-brows, with Hume's
not appearing till later in the autumn. All Nov Yellow-brows are
certainly worth double checking for Hume's is the way many birders
think.'


MSS
RSPB

 

  • Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler (Hume's Leaf Warbler)
  • Phylloscopus humei
  • WI: Very rare visitor (less than 5 records)
  • Breeds: Nests on ground in mountain woodland. Mountains of Central Asia
  • Winters: Mainly in India
  • Very small leaf warbler. Greenish above parts. Off-white below parts. Long 'eyebrow' stripe (supercilium). Well-marked tertials. Dark legs & lower park of bill. Very similar to Yellow-browed Warbler, but with just one prominent wing bar, only a faint second wing bar and generally duller colouring. Very active. Not shy.
  • Diet: Insect-eater
  • Similar birds: Yellow-browed Warbler (prominent double wing-bar, pale legs), Goldcrest, Firecrest, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff
  • Yellow-browed Warbler
  • Phylloscopus inornatus
  • UK: 320 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce autumn visitor (Very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: North & Central Asia, Russia (UK is 3000km from it's breeding grounds! )
  • Winters: South-East Asia
  • Habitat: Mountain & lowland woodland, open forest, scrub, usually in tree canopy
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • One of the smallest warblers. Greenish upperparts, off-white below, prominent double wing bars and long supercilia (eyebrow). Pale legs. Highly active -constant motion, not shy
  • Similar birds: Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler (single wing-bar, dark legs), Goldcrest, Firecrest, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff
 

 

Listen to comparison calls of the Hume's Yellow Browed and the Yellow-browed warbler here

The BTO records of 320 Yellow-browed Warblers occuring in the UK annually includes occurences of Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler.

 

Hebrides bird sightings -  Long-eared Owl

'I collected a sick owl today, but it lived all of moments.

It had been picked up from a fishfarm in South Lochs and was totally
emaciated. Just skin and bone'.

MSS

'Water Rail in the garden this morning. There was one in the same spot almost two years ago (19th November, 2006)
I wonder if there was one there last year too but I missed it. Very shy. Gloomy light so photo unlikely...

Also a Waxwing at the garden with the apples along with a small warbler dotting about', and a flock of 17 Redwings
Sunny

Wenesday 12th November, 2008 Water Rail Croir - Great Bernera
  • Water Rail
  • Rallus aquaticus
  • Gaelic: Snagan Alt
  • UK: AMBER LIST . 700-1,400 pairs breeding (RSPB)
  • WI: Rare resident or migrant breeder (1-9 breeding records), Scarce passage and winter visitor (Very small numbers each year)
  • Breeding: Covered nest on ground in dry patch of marshy vegetation. Marshes, Reedbed. lays 6-12 creamy-grey-spotted eggs. Europe, Asia
  • Wintering: Populations in North & East Europe migratory & join resident birds in West & South Europe in winter
  • Large, narrow, long-legged and crake-like. Long, red bill. Short, rounded wings. Slate-grey face, throat & belly. Flanks black & white 'striped' . Tail often held cocked like wren. White undertail. Long, pink legs trail in flight . Skulker
  • Listen to a Water Rail (RSPB site) Squealing, grunting, purring
  • Similar birds: Moorhen, Spotted Crake
 

 

'1winter Iceland Gull beside Loch Barvas today'
JS

Tuesday 11th November, 2008 Iceland Gull

Brue - Isle of Lewis

Loch Barvas - Isle of Lewis

   

 

'Update on what was wrong with that Gannet I found a while back that I passed to Calum:

The injury on the bird's foot was caused by a huge abcess which had disintigrated most of the foot, that was the reason the bird was euthanised. When I first saw it it was helpless on the shore (it was very weak and could not stand) and was being watched by a pair of Ravens.

Calum also mentioned that he was very glad that the bird had been passed onto him'

Suzanne

 

 

'Afraid the stormie didnt make it, it died this am'
MSS
Tuesday 12th November, 2008

 

Hebrides bird sightings - European Storm-petrel

Stormie doing well in care - now sporting a splint and a dose of anti-biotic. It is very mobile around the house - choosing to sit on folk by choice. Even eating a mix of anchovies in the bath!

 

Wildlife Garden for birds Wildlife Garden

Hebrides birds - Wildlife Garden Hebrides birds - Wildlife Garden

I couldn't find the Yellow-browed Warblers, but I did find a Waxwing (poor pic attached - it was under the apple trees!), Goldcrest, Woodcock and a Chiffchaff - some nice gardens in the area which are sheltered even in the gales. (Croir, Great Bernera)
A Blackcap at Earshiadar.

 

Tobson - 8 Goldeneye, 2 Dabchick (Little Grebe)
Hacklete - 42 Tufted duck
Achmore - 103 Tufty, 17 Mallard, 6 Goosander

Garyhaynie - 11 Canada Geese and a Canada x Greylag hybrid

MSS

Monday 11th November, 2008

 

  • Woodcock (Eurasian Woodcock)
  • Scolopax rusticola
  • Gaelic: Coileach-coille
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: AMBER LIST (in decline) 8800 pairs (Summer) BTO
  • WI: Fairly common winter visitor (occurs in small numbers). Some breeding records pre-1990
  • Breeds: Ground nester. Needs undergrowth. Open areas in deciduous & conifer woodland. North Europe & North Asia
  • Winters: Goes South to Africa & Asia. Most birds in UK residents (plus in autumn some birds come from Finland & Russia to over winter)
  • Habitat: Heath, damp woodland
  • Diet: Probes damp ground for earthworms at dawn, dusk or night. Also insects, beetles, spiders, caterpillars, fly larvae, small snails, some plant material,
  • Large (33-38cm) stocky wader. Short pinkish legs, long (6-7cm) straight, slender bill. Brown & blackish patterned above, grey below - superb camouflage. Eyes set on sides of head (nearly 360° vision!). Wings rounded.
    Hides in dense cover by day.
  • Maximum lifespan: 15yrs 5mths, typical age: 4yrs
  • Listen to a Woodcock (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Snipe
  • Little Grebe
  • Tachbaptus rufcollis
  • Gaelic: Spàg-ri-tòn
  • WI: Uncommon Migrant Breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) to Uists. Scarce visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years) in Lewis & Harris where formerly bred
 

'Two Yellow-browed Warblers (at about 3pm) in my garden again and also a Goldcrest'
Sunny
Monday 11th November, 2008
Croir, Great Bernera

'At the moment they are more likely to be Hume's rather than Yellow broweds.'
MSS

'They had pale-brown legs, but moved too fast for me to see wing-bars (or to get a photo!)'
Sunny

 

Wildlife Garden for birds Wildlife Garden

Hebrides bird sightings - Blackcap Hebrides bird sightings - Blackcap

'There were quite a few different speciesof birds in my garden today but the highlight has to be the pair of Blackcaps that arrived initially on one of my ornamental crab apple trees.

I have attached a couple of shots, one showing the pair on the tree and another of the female Blackcap feeding from one of the many pieces of apple i have put out.'
Frank

Sunday 9th November, 2008 Blackcaps Leurbost - Isle of Lewis
  • Blackcap (Eurasian Blackcap, The Northern Nightingale)
  • Sylvia atricapilla
  • Gaelic: Ceann-dubh
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: Summer 932,000 territories. Winter 3,000 birds RSPB
  • WI: Uncommon passage visitor (low numbers)
  • Breeds: April - May. Nests in low shrub. Broad-leaved woodland. Lays 3-6 eggs. Northern temperate Europe, West Asia
  • Winters: South of breeding range to tropical Africa where local birds are resident. Blackcaps seen in the UK in winter are Central European breeders come to overwinter. UK breeding birds migrate south Sept - Oct
  • Habitat: Forest, open woodland, towns, parks. In winter also gardens with good cover - trees and shrubs.
  • Diet: Summer, insects, otherwise fruit and berries (mostly in cover), feeds at bird-tables in winter
  • Stocky, sparrow-sized greyish warbler. Grey face. Bale bluish-grey bill & legs.
    Male has black cap. Grey-brown upper parts. Light olive-grey underparts.
    Female dark chestnut-brown cap. Buff-coloured underparts. Juvenile ginger-chestnut cap.
  • Max recorded age 10yrs 8mths, typical lifespan 2yrs
    Listen to a Blackcap (RSPB site) . Melodious warble has earned the Blackcap the name "The Northern Nightingale".
  • Similar birds: Garden Warbler
 

'Two Yellow-browed Warblers in the veg patch today, I stood watching one then suddenly another popped up in one of the willows right in front of me.
It was only about 12 inches away from my face!'
Sunny

Sunday 9th November, 2008 Yellow-browed Warbler Croir - Great Bernera    

 

'Sat 8th, 6 Goldfinches, Upper Aird, Point, Little Egret visible from bottom of Cross St, Stornoway at around high water, as well as plenty of waders, Teal, Wigeon etc

Sun 7th, Single Fieldfare, Upper Aird first thing this morning'

Grahame

 

'Single Fieldfare in Linshader today'
Suzanne
Sunday 9th November, 2008 Fieldfare

Linshader - Isle of Lewis

Upper Aird - Isle of Lewis

   
'Waxwings - never even seen them before.
saw dozens, first in the Co-op car park and then in Barony Square.
Also am getting goldfinches feeding daily in my ( town centre ) garden.
'
Dave
Sat 8th November, 2008 Waxwings Stornoway    
Hebrides bird sightings - European Storm-petrel Hebrides bird sightings - European Storm-petrel Hebrides bird sightings -  Waxwing

'Couple of pics of Storm Petrel that was taken into care on board a boat in Loch Roag on Friday night. Has head injuries and is partly disabled down one side.

Also one of the 150+ Waxwings that was at Laxdale on Friday. Several small groups wandering 'down-town' Stornoway'

MSS

(There was also a European Storm-petrel at Brue, Isle of Lewis on Friday)

 

 
  • European Storm-petrel
  • Hydrobates pelagicus
  • Gaelic: Annlag, Paraig, Luaireag
  • UK: Migrant Breeder
  • UK: AMBER LIST, 27,000 pairs (Summer) BTO
  • WI: (Possibly) Abundant breeder (10,000+ breeding pairs)
  • See from Westerly seawatching places when a gale blows to shore
  • Breeds: Islands: UK (Western & Northern Isles) & North & West of Europe. Forms colonies. (UK May - September). (Nests: crevices & burrows, holes in stone walls. Visits the nest at night)
  • Winters: Leaves September - October to seas off South Africa
  • Feeds in flocks: planktonic crustaceans & small fish (picked from surface - hovering: wings up in V shape, flutttering & bat-like) Follows ships (comes ashore only to feed at NIGHT)
  • Smallest seabird. (sparrow-sized) . All black, white rump, tail square-tipped or rounded, NOT forked, white rump patch reaches far down the side (Leach's only part-way down) , broad white band on underwing (Leachs' none)
  • Listen to a Storm petrel RSPB site ( trills & purrs, famously described by Charles Oldham as "like a fairy being sick")
  • Similar birds: Leach's Storm Petrel, (forked tails), House Martin
 
Friday 7th November, 2008 Iceland Gull Loch Barvas - Isle of Lewis    
"Not sure if they are rare here but Tuesday last - early afternoon - a small flock of Goldfinches passed through our village moving towards in general direction of Harris".
Lesley
Friday 7th November, 2008 Goldfinches Lemreway - Isle of Lewis
  • 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 status of Goldfinches in the islands is 'Uncommon (low numbers) passage and winter visitor' (as at 2001).

Most Lewis records are from Stornoway or Achmore, very few are recorded in Harris and the majority of records are from the Uists.

 
Thursday 6th November, 2008 Common Crossbills Achmore - Isle of Lewis

"2 Common Crossbills at Achmore
Jenny"

  • Common Crossbill
  • Loxia curvirostra
  • Gaelic: cam-ghob
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: Summer breeding 11,000 pairs BTO
  • WI: One possible breeding record. Scarce passage visitor (Very small numbers each year) except in irruption years
  • Europe, Asia, North + Central America
  • Habitat: Coniferous forest
  • Diet: Conifer seeds. Feeds fluttering from cone to cone. Bill is an adaptation for extracting the seeds of a cone.
  • Noisy, chunky finch. Large head. Bill crossed over at tip. Usually flys at treetop height coming down to drink. Adult males orange or brick-red. Females greenish-brown.
  • Average lifespan 2yrs, Max recorded lifespan 8yr 4months
  • Listen to a Common Crossbill (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Scottish Crossbill (Not on Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist), Parrot Crossbill
 
Hebrides bird sightings - Little Egret Hebrides bird sightings - Little Egret Hebrides bird sightings - Little Egret Hebrides bird sightings - Little Egret

Andy L has sent in these photographs of the Little Egret
in Lewis

Thursday 6th November, 2008 Little Egret Steinish - Stornoway
  • Little Egret
  • Egretta gularis
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Breeding 146-162 pairs. Wintering 1,600 birds RSPB
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • WI: Scarce visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years) TBC
  • Breeding: Nests in colonies. Nest is a platform of sticks in tree, reedbed, bamboo grove, shrub, or on a cliff. Lays 3-5 matte blue-green eggs. Europe, Asia, Australia, Asia, Africa
  • Wintering: Mostly resident. Birds breeding in northernmost parts migrate to Africa & Asia. Some birds wander north after breeding, which extends the breeding range
  • Habitat: Lakes, marsh, flooded fields, estuaries
  • Diet: Stalks prey in shallow water. Running (wings raised) or motionless stalking. Mostly small fish, amphibians, large insects, crustaceans, but also small animals
  • Small white heron. White plumes on crest, back & chest. Black legs & bill. Yellow feet. Hunches neck in flight
  • Typical lifespan 5yrs. Max recorded age 21yrs 4mths
  • Listen to a Little Egret (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Grey Heron, Spoonbill (rare) Great White Egret (rare)
 
Thursday 6th November, 2008 Waxwings (40+)

Willowglen - Stornoway

  • Waxwing
  • Bombycilla garrulus
  • Gaelic: Gochan cireaneach
  • UK: 100 birds (winter) BTO
  • UK: Winter visitor
  • WI: Scarce Winter Visitor (Very small numbers each year), very rare (5 or less records) spring vistor
  • Breeding: Nest high up in the branches of trees in mature coniferous forest & birch woodland. Mossy, damp, lichen-rich places. Lays 4 - 6 pale bluish eggs. Northern Scandinavia, Russia. Europe, North America
  • Winters: Not regular. South Europe, South USA
  • Diet: Berries, hawthorn, rowan, cotoneaster. Plant buds. (Breeding season also insects, midges & mosquitoes)
  • Exotic looking bird, reminiscent of a Cockatoo. Starling-sized (18 - 21cm length), but plump, stocky & thick-necked with a short tail. Large sandy-chestnut coloured crest. Very dashing black eye patch & black throat. Pinkish-brown above. Pale sandy-brown below.
    Lower back & rump (above tail) bluish. Undertail plumage chestnut-red. Yellow band at tip of short blackish tail. Dark wings with white bars, yellow markings & small waxy, red patch
  • Waxwings live for up to 12 years
  • Listen to a Waxwing (RSPB site). Call pleasant ringing trill, "srrrr" like a small bell
  • Similar birds: Hawfinch

There are reports of Waxwings all down the UK East coast

 
"Yellow-browed Warbler in garden Yippee! Goldfinch yesterday..."
Thursday 6th November, 2008 Yellow-browed Warbler Croir - Great Bernera
  • Yellow-browed Warbler
  • Phylloscopus inornatus
  • UK: 320 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce autumn visitor (Very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: North & Central Asia, Russia (UK is 3000km from it's breeding grounds! )
  • Winters: South-East Asia
  • Habitat: Mountain & lowland woodland, open forest, scrub, usually in tree canopy
  • Diet: Mostly insects
  • One of the smallest warblers. Greenish upperparts, off-white below, prominent double wing bars and long supercilia (eyebrow) . Highly active -constant motion, not shy
  • Similar birds: Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler (single wing-bar)
 
Wednesday 5th November, 2008 Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler Brue - Isle of Lewis
  • Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler (Hume's Leaf Warbler)
  • Phylloscopus humei
  • Breeds: Nests on ground in mountain woodland. Mountains of Central Asia
  • Winters: Mainly in India
  • Very small leaf warbler. Greenish above parts. Off-white below parts. Long 'eyebrow' stripe (supercilium). Crown stripe & well-marked tertials. Dark legs & lower park of bill. Very similar to Yellow-browed Warbler, but with just one prominent wing bar, only a faint second wing bar and generally duller colouring. Very active. Not shy.
  • Diet: Insect-eater
  • Similar birds: Yellow-browed Warbler (double wing-bar)

Hume's Leaf Warbler was recently spilt from the Yellow-browed Warbler, and although there is some overlap of breeding range the two species do not hybridise.

The BTO records of 320 Yellow-browed Warblers occuring in the UK annually includes occurences of Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler.

 
Tuesday 4th November, 2008 Waxwings

Benbecula

Druidibeag - South Uist

Francis Street - Stornoway

   
Monday 3rd November, 2008 Snowy Owl Balranald - North Uist
  • Snowy Owl
  • Nyctea scandiaca, Bubo scandiacus
  • Gaelic: Comhachag-bhan
  • UK: 3 records a year (BTO) (1958-2004 total of 159 records)
  • UK: accidental, former breeder
  • WI: Scarce vagrant (very small numbers recorded in most years) TBC
  • Distribution: Primarily resident circumpolar - North of the Arctic Circle. Europe, North Asia, North North America. Nomadic bird - shortage of prey forces it to more Southern tundra breeding sites. Nests on ground - a scrape on a mound, rock or gravel bar. (Areas with good visibility & good hunting). An abandoned eagle nest sometimes used. Breeds in May, laying 5 -14 eggs). Winter: fields & prairie
  • Diet: Hunting style "sitting and waiting", bird has sharp talons & catches prey on ground, in air or fish from surface of water. Lemmings, voles & other rodents, small birds , fish, carrion
  • All white. Upright stance. Body barrel-shaped. Head rounded. Eyes yellow & staring. Bill black. Male almost pure white. Female (largest bird) & young covered with narrow black bars & crescent-shaped spots. Heavily feathered feet (together with bird's thick plumage suitable for life in the Arctic)
 
Monday 3rd November, 2008 Waxwings (45!)

Stornoway Castle Grounds

Langlass - North Uist

   
Monday 3rd November, 2008 Glaucous Gulls (3) North Bay - South Uist
  • 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: 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 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
 
Monday 3rd November, 2008 Little Egret Saltmarsh nr hospital - Stornoway    
         
Monday 3rd November, 2008 Grey Phalarope

Ardvule - South Uist

Loch Bee - South Uist

  • Grey Phalarope
  • Phalaropus fulicarius
  • Gaelic: Liathag Tllt, Liathag Allt
  • UK: Passage Visitor
  • UK: 166 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce (very small numbers recorded in most years, sometimes more in persistent gales) autumn passage visitor
  • Breeds: Arctic regions: Iceland, Greenland, North Siberia, North America, North Europe
  • Winters in the Southern oceans
  • Diet: Invertebrates, (plus seeds etc when reaching breeding grounds)
  • Habitat: coastal tundra (migration coasts)
  • Small wader (21cm / 8 in length) . Winter mostly grey above & white below, with black eyepatch & straight black bill.
    Breeding female dark brown & black above, red below, white cheek patches & yellow black-tipped bill. Breeding male similar but duller. Young birds light grey & brown above, buff below & dark eye patch
  • Similar birds: Red-necked Phalarope, Wilson's Phalarope
 
Monday 3rd November, 2008 Blue Tit Market Stance - Benbecula
  • Blue Tit
  • Parus caerruleus
  • Gaelic : Cailleach-ghorm
  • WI: Uncommon resident breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) mostly in the Stornoway Castle Grounds. Rare visitor to the Uists and Barra
 

whilst walking down from Coll towards Gress beach today I heard the unmistakeable cackle of a raven haranguing something,once I'd managed to track down where the noise was coming from it soon became apparent the ravens scorn was directed at a red kite which was gliding through the area trying to ignore this rude corvid. I could discern no tags or other fitted markers so I'm guessing its not from any recent release scheme,perhaps it was blown over from Inverness.Last I saw of it,it was gliding towards Barvas
Tony Walker


Coll, Isle of Lewis


Sunday 2nd November Red Kite

Callernish - North Uist

Gress - Isle of Lewis

  • Red Kite
  • Mivus milvus
  • WI: Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC
 

 

The the BTO Migration Atlas has these notes:

1) The nominate race has a European range which includes the UK, and the Northernmost populations are partly migratory.

2) Naturalised populations in northern Scotland disperse predominantly in a southerly or south-westerly direction prior to their first winter (and return the following spring) with exceptions - one was found in Iceland...

3) Dispersing 1st years from the more sedentary populations in England (late summer/autumn) show no directional preference and dispersed up to 272km

Comments welcomed ...

"On a walk in the castle grounds today, I and several other passers by, stopped to look at a flock of birds perching in a tree close to 'cuddy point'. I didn't recognize them as a bird I knew, although waxwing sprang to mind as I thought about it. Back home I looked them up and confirmed my thoughts. On reflection, there must have been around twenty to thirty birds flying to and fro, from below the wall by the shore and back to the tree."
Kenneth M

Sunday 2nd November, 2008

Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Waxwings (45+?)

Stornoway

(Castle Grounds 41)

North Uist (3)

   
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Firecrest Langlass - North Uist
  • Firecrest
  • Regulus ignicapillus
  • WI: Scarce (very small numbers recorded in most years) TBC
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Little Egret North Uist (2)    
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Glaucous Gulls (3) Loch Bee - South Uist    
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Slavonian Grebe (9) Balgarva - Southy Uist
  • Slavonian Grebe (Devil-Diver, Dipper, Hell-Diver, Horned Grebe, Pink-Eyed Diver, Water Witch)
  • Podiceps auritus
  • UK: AMBER LIST (breeding) 70 - 80 pairs, (winter) 400 birds RSPB
  • WI: Uncommon in winter (recorded in low numbers each year) Occurs in nationally important numbers
  • 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.
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Coal Tit North Loch Eynort - South Uist
  • Coal Tit
  • Parus ater
  • Gaelic : Cailleach-cheann-dubh
  • WI: Uncommon resident breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) in Lewis. Otherwise rare visitor (30 or less records) to Uists and Barra
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 White-rumped Sandpiper South Ford - South Uist
  • White-rumped Sandpiper
  • Calidris fuscicollis
  • UK: Scarce visitor.
  • UK: 8 records annually BTO
  • WI: Rare visitor (30 or less records)
  • Breeds: Northern tundra Arctic Islands, Alaska, Canada. Nests hidden in vegetation on ground
  • Winters : Northern South America
  • Habitat: Small pools, tundra (migration mudflats)
  • Diet: Forages probing mudflats/tundra and by sight in shallow water. Mostly insects, molluscs, worms (also some plant material)
  • Generally like a streamlined Dunlin. ID it by very long wings which protrude past tail tip (Only Baird's Sandpiper also has this). Adults black legs. Small thin, dark bill. Body dark brown above, mostly white below, breast has brown streaks. White rump. White stripe over eye. Winter plumage pale grey above. Pointed, (not rounded) feather patterns, White rump (Baird's is not white).
  • Similar birds: Dunlin, Little Stint, Baird’s Sandpiper

    See the Surfbirds online guide to identification of long-winged peeps
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll Loch Eynort - South Uist
  • Arctic Redpoll (Hornemann's Arctic redpoll, Greenland Arctic redpoll)
  • Carduelis hornemanni
  • UK: Scarce vistor
  • UK: 17 records annually BTO
  • Diet: Forages for trees seeds (willow, birch, alder). (Summmer also eats invertebrates)
  • Habitat: Tundra, birch scrubland
  • Very pale large form of the redpoll, light grey with dark-sparce penciling, usually no streaking on rump
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Buff-bellied Pipit Smerclate - Southy Uist
  • Buff-bellied Pipit (American Pipit, Buff-bellied Pipit)
  • Anthus rubescens
  • UK: Accidental: Just 2 UK records 1958 - 2004 BTO (Shetland & Outer Hebrides)
    (Since then also Oxfordshire on the 7th October 2007 & WI on 18th October, 2007)
  • WI: Very rare accidental/vagrant (five or less records)
  • Breeds: Northern North America
  • Winters: Pacific coast of N USA, Atlantic coast of S USA - C USA
  • Habitat: Tundra, meadows. Breeding: open & lightly vegetated areas
  • Lightly streaked grey-brown above, buff breast & flanks diffusely streaked, whitish belly.
    Call is a Squeaky sip (ID from other pipits)
  • Diet: Insect eater: Terrestrial & freshwater invertebrates, plus some seeds
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Little Auk (2) Balgarva - South Uist
  • Little Auk
  • Alle alle
  • Gaelic: Falcag
  • UK: Passage/Winter Visitor
  • WI: Uncommon winter vistor (recorded in low numbers each year)
  • Breeds: Nests: Crevices & under rocks. Forms vast colonies. Coastal mountainsides of Islands in high Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America
  • Winters: At sea - Northern North Atlantic, (wind-driven further south)
  • Starling sized seabird: Black above (& wings), white below. Black stubby bill, short neck & small rounded tail. Winter: lower face & fore-neck go white.
    Flight: Low & direct across sea. Short wings beat very fast (whirring). See from seawatching places late October - February (mainly late October & November)
  • Habitat: Cliffs at coast, or at sea
  • Diet: Forages swimming underwater: Zooplanton (Tiny marine creatures), fish
  • Listen to a Little Auk RSPB site (Good one!)
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Goldcrest (2) Croir - Great Bernera
  • Goldcrest
  • Regulus regulus
  • Gaelic: Crionag Ghiuthais
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Summer 842,000 territories. WInter 3-5 million birds RSPB
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • WI: Uncommon Migrant Breeder (10-99 breeding pairs), and uncommon passage visitor (low numbers)
  • Breeding: Lays 4-12 eggs in an open nest . Prefers coniferous woodland (spruces or firs). Resident in most of temperate Europe & Asia.
  • WIntering: Mostly resident but northernmost birds winter south of the breeding range. Large numbers of migrating Goldcrests arrive in the UK in autumn, prefering bushes & shrubs in coastal areas. Often found with tit flocks in winter
  • Habitat: Forest, woodland
  • Diet: Feeds mostly in high in the canopy. Always moving seeking insects (typically caterpillars), spiders
  • Tiny! Our smallest bird (8.5 - 9.5cm). Rounded appearance. Pale greenish above. Buff-white below. Two white wingbars. Plain face with a large black eye. Crown bordered by black sides. Central crest which is displayed during breeding is an orange stripe in the male & yellow in female. Juvenile has plainer, pale crown. Approachable
  • Listen to a Goldcrest (RSPB site)
  • Typical lifespan 2yrs. Max recorded lifespan 4yrs 10mths
  • Similar birds: Firecrest, (rare - has prominent white 'eyebrow' (supercilium), Wren
 
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Grey Phalarope

nr Ardvule Point

Bragar - isle of Lewis (5)

Siadar - Isle of lewis (2)

   
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Snow Buntings (60) Balranald - North Uist
  • 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)
 

Sunday 2nd November, 2008

Red Kite Callernish - North Uist    
Sunday 2nd November, 2008 Grey Phalarope

Siadar - Isle of lewis

Bragar - Isle of lewis

   
Saturday 1st November, 2008 Red Kite

Garrynamonie - Benbecula

   
Saturday 1st November, 2008 Waxwing (5)

Bayhead - South Uist

Snishival - South Uist

North Loch Eynort - South Uist

Laxdale - South Uist

   
Saturday 1st November, 2008 Buff-bellied Pipit Smerclate - Southy Uist    
Saturday 1st November, 2008 Goshawk Haarsal - South Uist
  • Goshawk
  • Accipter gentilis
  • WI: Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC
 
         

 

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