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 Western Isles of Scotland

 

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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : September 2008

 

 

 

 

This table is Hebrides Bird Sightings period September 2008
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Great Spotted Woodpecker Langlass - North Uist

Langlas Lodge

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Dendrocopus major
  • Gaelic: Snagair Daraich
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Scarce Visitor
  • UK: 41,000 pairs (Summer) BTO
  • WI: Rare visitor (30 or less records)
  • Breeding: In a rotten tree bores a round hole. (Horizontal few inches then vertically down 6-12 inches). At bottom excavates a chamber. Lays 4-7 creamy-white eggs on wood chips. (Hole used once only). Europe, Asia
  • Winters: Mostly resident but northernmost birds move south
  • Habitat: Woodlands, parks or gardens with mature trees
  • Diet: Much of time is clinging to tree trunks & branches feeding. Mostly insects like grubs, moths or beetles from crevices in bark, or in dead wood. Also eats tree seeds like beechmast, acorns & nuts. (will use peanut feeders, birdtables). Berries. Birds' eggs.
  • Blackbird-sized black-and-white bird. Male mostly black above with white spots on wings & large white patch on 'shoulder'. Crimson spot on nape. White sides to face & neck. Black crown. Buffish white below. Crimson abdomen & undertail. Slate-black bill. Legs greenish-grey. Female & juveniles have no crimson on nape. Juvenile has crimson crown. Bouncing flight.
  • Max recorded age 12yrs 8ths
  • Listen to a Great Spotted Woodpecker (RSPB site) . Call quet, quet . Bill on bark makes a mechanical drumming sound
  • Similar birds: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (no crimson on abdomen. Not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Citrine Wagtail Aird an Runair - Balranald - North Uist
  • Citrine Wagtail
  • Motacilla citreola
  • UK: Scarce visitor. 4 records annually BTO
  • WI: Very rare (5 or less records).TBC
  • Breeds: Nests on ground. North & Central Asia
  • Winters: South Asia
  • Habitat: Open country near water. Wet meadows, loch shores, marshes
  • Diet: Insect eater - mostly aquatic ones
  • Slender & long with wagging tail. Breeding adult male mostly grey above. Bright yellow underparts. Yellow head.
    Other plumages whitishish/yellowish underparts. Browner head.
  • Similar birds: Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail (immature - has dark throat), Yellow Wagtail (rare)
 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Arctic Skua Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Arctic Skua
  • Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Gaelic: Fàisgadair
  • UK: Estimated 3,200 breeding pairs
  • WI: Uncommon migrant breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) and usually uncommon passage visitor (low numbers)
  • We have three different plumage forms of the Arctic Skua: pale, medium and dark.
    Very distinctive tail - easiest identification feature. A pirate that will harrass another bird until it drops it's food.
  • Max recorded life span 25 years
  • Similar birds: Pomarine Skua , Long-tailed Skua, Great Skua

 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Great Skua Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Great Skua (Bonxie)
  • Stercorarius skua - Catharacta skua
  • UK: Passage visitor, migrant breeder
  • UK: 9600 pairs in Summer BTO
  • WI: Fairly common migrant breeder (100 - 999 breeding pairs), and passage visitor (small numbers)
  • Adults stout & dark, streaked grey-brown, black cap, juveniles warm-brown, unstreaked below, tail short & square-ended - blunt. Flight direct & powerful. ID from other skuas: Herring Gull size, barrel chest, white wing flashes
  • Breeds: Western Isles, North Scotland, Faeroes, Iceland, Norway
  • Winters: North Atlantic, North & South America, Spanish Coast, Africa
  • Habitat: Coastal moorland, rocky islands, Winter: seacoasts
  • Diet: Fish from sea, other seabirds (kill to size great black-backed gull), piracy (robs terns, gulls, gannets!)
  • Listen to Great Skua RSPB site
  • Similar birds Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua , Long-tailed Skua
 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Sooty Shearwater Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Sooty Shearwater (Black Hag, Black Hagdon, Dark-Bodied Shearwater, Mutton Bird, Spectral Shearwater, Sooty, Sooties)
  • Puffinus griseus
  • WI: Fairly common passage visitor (occurs in small numbers) in late summer and autumn (rare in spring)
  • Breeds: Nov - Feb. Colonies in burrows on offshore islands. Just one white egg laid. Nest visted only at night to avoid predators. Southernmost Atlantic & Pacific oceans.
    Winters: (During our summertime) at sea in Northern Atlantic
  • Diet: Feeds mostly on small squid & fish at surface. (Good sense of smell). Dives to 68m
  • Seabird - smaller than herring gull (40 - 50cm length). Dark chocolate-brown/blackish body. Long wings (bright silver band underneath) Flight shearing (dips from side to side with stiff wings & few wing beats, wingtips almost touch water). Powerful, direct flight wings straight & stiff, frequent gliding.
  • Similar birds: Manx Shearwater (Also Cory's Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater but they are rare)
 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Great Northern Divers Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Great Northern Diver
  • Gavia immer
  • UK: Scarce breeder, winter visitor. Arrives UK August - leave to breed April - May
  • UK: 3000 in winter BTO
  • WI: Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers but of international importance) and winter visitor (occurs in small numbers, but of national importance)
  • Breeds: Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, North Scotland, North America, Canada
  • Winters: North Europe, UK, North America
  • Habitat: Lakes, ponds & rivers
  • Usually solitary, large: average 32 inches long, wingspan of 54 inches, weighs 9lbs (81cm : 136cm : 4.1kg) Breeding adults: black head, white below, checked black & white mantle, sexes similar
    Non-breeding brownish, white chin, foreneck, bill is grey- whitish held horizontal
  • Diet: Mostly fish, crustaceans amphibians. Fishes underwater to 200 feet (60m) immer means submerge
  • Similar birds: Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, White-billed Diver
 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Grey Phalarope Barra
  • 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
 
Tuesday 30th September, 2008 Leach's Petrel Barra
  • Leach's Storm-petrel (Leach's Petrel, Leach's Fork-tailed Storm Petrel, British Storm Petrel, British Storm-Petrel, European Storm Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, European Stormpetrel, Mother Carey's Chicken, Storm Petrel, Storm-Petrel, Stormy Petrel)
  • Oceanodroma leucorhoa
  • UK: AMBER LIST, 51,000 pairs (summer) BTO
  • WI: Common migrant breeder (1000 -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, British & Irish birds go to tropics (some stay in North Atlantic)
  • 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)
  • Starling sized seabird.. All black below, mostly black above, (upperwing pale band of mid-feathers), (underwing no white band) V-shaped white rump patch only reaches partway down the side, with centre dark line (storm petrel's go far down), Forked tail.
  • Listen to a Leach's Storm-petrel ( RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Storm Petrel (NOT forked tail),
 
Bird Sightings : Crossbill

"...heres one for you i took today in garrabost not exactly sure as to which species of crossbill this is could be interesting!!!! "
Andy l

Tuesday 30th September, 2008

Anyone got ideas about which species this is?

It looks like a female Common Crossbill to me.
Perhaps not thick-necked enough & lower mandible not deep enough to be a Parrot Crossbill (or Scottish Crossbill)

Assistance appreciated - many thanks
Suzanne

I agree that it is a common the others are much more chunky
TC

 

Bird sightings : Brent Geese

"...heres one for you i took today in garrabost not exactly sure as to which species of crossbill this is could be interesting!!!! "
Andy l

Anyone got ideas about which species this is?
it looks like a Parrot Crossbill to me which is not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist

Many thanks
Suzanne

Monday 29th September, 2008 American Golden Plover Torlum - Benbecula juv American Golden Plover. Benbecula, at Torlum
  • American Golden Plover
  • Pluvialis dominica
  • UK: Just 5 annual records
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Rare visitor (less than 30 records) BTO
  • Breeds: North America
  • Winters: South America
  • Habitat: tundra (migration mudflats, grazing land)
  • Diet: insects, seeds, leaves, berries
  • Often when found is in the company of golden plover.
    Usually greyer, less yellow-brown than golden plovers, stonger head pattern
  • Similar birds : Golden Plover
 

Goldfinch Female

Wheatear
Wheatear
Common Snipe
Twite
Whooper Swans
Goldfinch
female

Snipe

Here is a couple of pics taken in the last couple of days.. the whoopers are the flock at tiumpan head loch.The other birds were taken on point too ...  Andy l 

 

Sunday 28th September, 2008 Scaup Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Scaup
  • Aythya marila
  • AKA: Scaup, Scaup Duck , Bluebill
  • 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)
 
Sunday 28th September, 2008 Great Northern Divers Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Great Northern Diver (Great Northern Loon, Big Loon, Common Loon, Black-billed Loon, Call-up-a-storm, Imber Diver, Ring-necked Loon, Walloon, Ember-goose, Greenhead, Guinea Duck)
  • Gavia immer
  • UK: Scarce breeder, winter visitor. Arrives UK August - leave to breed April - May
  • UK: 3000 in winter BTO
  • WI: Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers but of international importance) and winter visitor (occurs in small numbers, but of national importance)
  • Breeds: Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, North Scotland, North America, Canada
  • Winters: North Europe, UK, North America
  • Habitat: Lakes, ponds & rivers
  • Usually solitary, large: average 32 inches long, wingspan of 54 inches, weighs 9lbs (81cm : 136cm : 4.1kg) Breeding adults: black head, white below, checked black & white mantle, sexes similar
    Non-breeding brownish, white chin, foreneck, bill is grey- whitish held horizontal
  • Diet: Mostly fish, crustaceans amphibians. Fishes underwater to 200 feet (60m) immer means submerge
  • Similar birds: Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, White-billed Diver
 
Sunday 28th September, 2008 Arctic Terns Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Arctic Tern
  • Sterna paradisaea
  • Gaelic: Steàrnan
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 553,000 pairs - summer BTO
  • WI: Common migrant breeder (1000 -10,000 pairs) and fairly common passage visitor (occurs in small numbers)
  • Breeds: Usually return to breed in area & colony, where they hatched to breed. UK - Europe, Arctic, North America
  • Winters: Antarctic oceans
  • Mostly grey & white. Red beak & feet. White forehead. Black nape & crown. White cheeks. Deeply forked whitish tail giving long "streamers"
  • Habitat: Tundra, Seacoast, lochs, rivers. Winter - sea
  • Diet: Fish, insects
  • Lives to 20yrs.
  • Listen to an Arctic Tern RSPB site
  • Similar birds: Common Tern, Little Tern
 
Sunday 28th September, 2008 Great Skua Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Great Skua (Bonxie)
  • Stercorarius skua - Catharacta skua
  • UK: Passage visitor, migrant breeder
  • UK: 9600 pairs in Summer BTO
  • WI: Fairly common migrant breeder (100 - 999 breeding pairs), and passage visitor (small numbers)
  • Adults stout & dark, streaked grey-brown, black cap, juveniles warm-brown, unstreaked below, tail short & square-ended - blunt. Flight direct & powerful. ID from other skuas: Herring Gull size, barrel chest, white wing flashes
  • Breeds: Western Isles, North Scotland, Faeroes, Iceland, Norway
  • Winters: North Atlantic, North & South America, Spanish Coast, Africa
  • Habitat: Coastal moorland, rocky islands, Winter: seacoasts
  • Diet: Fish from sea, other seabirds (kill to size great black-backed gull), piracy (robs terns, gulls, gannets!)
  • Listen to Great Skua RSPB site
  • Similar birds Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua , Long-tailed Skua
 
Sunday 28th September, 2008 Arctic Skua Griminish Point - North Uist
  • Arctic Skua
  • Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Gaelic: Fàisgadair
  • UK: Estimated 3,200 breeding pairs
  • WI: Uncommon migrant breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) and usually uncommon passage visitor (low numbers)
  • We have three different plumage forms of the Arctic Skua: pale, medium and dark.
    Very distinctive tail - easiest identification feature. A pirate that will harrass another bird until it drops it's food.
  • Max recorded life span 25 years
  • Similar birds: Pomarine Skua , Long-tailed Skua, Great Skua

 
Sunday 28th September, 2008

Curlew Sandpiper

South Ford - South Uist

  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Calidris ferruginea
  • UK: Scarce passage migrant, mostly seen August & September.
  • UK: 740 annual UK records BTO
  • WI: Scarce sometimes uncommon passage visitor (very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: North Alaska, North Siberia
  • Winters: West Europe, South Asia, South Africa, Australia
  • Habitat: Tundra (migration boggy areas, mudflats, saltmarshes, shallow coastal lagoons)
  • Diet: Small invertebrates, snails, worms, flies
  • Like a dunlin. Differences: Slightly bigger. Feeds in slightly deeper water. In autumn looks paler, cleaner. Longer & more down-curved bill. Longer legs & neck. In flight bright white rump. Both birds have dark legs
    Winter: Pale grey above. White below. White eyestripe. Breeding: dark-grey below, deep chestnut above
    Juveniles: Grey & brown back. White belly. Peach-coloured breast. Gregarious, forms mixed species wader flocks (often with Dunlin)
  • Similar birds: Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper (very rare - legs much longer & paler, has wing bar)
 

Brian mentioned:
"Also on Saturday at Aird an Runair the Snowy Owl was still present. Did a bit of a seawatch at Griminish Point today - not much going south but did have a Leach's Petrel and a Pomarine Skua. Winds look reasonable to bring seabirds close in here in next couple of days - just hope there will not be too much rain."

Sunday 28th September, 2008 Snowy Owl

Aird an Runair - 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)
 
         
Saturday 27th September, 2008
Whooper Swans Tiumpanhead - Isle of Lewis

flock of 14 whooper swans at tiumpan head loch saturday afternoon
Andyl

  • 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
 
Saturday 27th September, 2008
Pied Flycatcher South Glendale - Barra Birdtrack reporting rate for this species (in UK) is over 5x the usual.
read article
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Ficedula hypoleuca
  • Gaelic: Breacan glas
  • UK: 32,000 pairs (Late April - September visitor) BTO
  • WI: Scarce passage visitor (very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: Europe, North-West Asia
  • Winters: West Africa
  • Habitat: Mature woodland, open forest, (prefers oaks) town parks & gardens
  • Bit smaller than House Sparrow, looks a bit like a Pied Wagtail
    Male mostly black upperparts. White below. Bold white patch on folded wing.
    Female browner
  • Diet: Insects, (feeds caterpillars to nestlings), fruit & seeds late summer & on migration
  • Listen to a Pied Flycatcher on RSPB site
  • Similar birds: Pied Wagtail
 
Saturday 27th September, 2008
Northern Treecreeper
North Bay - Barra
  • Northern Treecreeper
  • Certhia familiaris familiaris
  • UK: Rare visitor
  • Nominate continental European form of Treecreeper
 
Saturday 27th September, 2008

Treecreeper

Port of Ness - Isle of Lewis

  • Treecreeper
  • Certhia familiaris
  • Gaelic: Snaigear
  • UK: 210,000 territories
  • WI: scarce resident breeder (1-9 breeding pairs), in Stornoway Castle Grounds. Very rare visitor (five or less records) outside of Lewis & Harris
  • Breeding: Twig nest built into the trunk of a tree. Lays 6 eggs (white with brown spots). Resident: Europe, Asia. In autumn Treecreepers leave their breeding sites but most stay within 12miles/20 km
  • Habitat: Trunks of trees - forest, woodland
  • Diet: Insects, spiders (found in tree-trunk crevices). WInter also seeds of pine & spruce
  • Small (12-13cm) Sparrow-sized bird. Short neck. Long, slender, downcurved bill. Brown plumage above and is streaked & spotted. Underparts white. Brown rump (above tail). Long tail. In flight the Treecreeper has long, broad rounded wings which have a pale bar. In winter often joins flocks of other small birds - Blue Tits etc
  • Treecreepers live for up to 8 years.
  • Listen to a Treecreeper (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Short-toed Treecreeper (not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
 
Bird sightings : Brent Geese

"Something new in 'my patch' today - 45 Pale-bellied Brent Geese..huddled together forming a very tight raft near Bernera Bridge...they took to the sky and headed off to the west"
Suzanne

Saturday 27th September, 2008

     
  • Brent Goose
  • Branta bernicla
  • Gaelic: Gèadha-got
  • WI: Brent Geese are uncommon passage visitors (recorded in low numbers each year, but sometimes a few more occur) and rare winter visitors (less than 30 records).
  • UK AMBER LIST, (101,000 birds winter) BTO
  • Breeds: North Russia, North America, Canada, Greenland, Spitsbergen
  • Winters: South of breeding range to USA, Africa, China,
  • Habitat: Tundra, (migration marshes, estuaries)
  • Diet: Grazing inter-tidal eelgrass and other vegetation
  • Smallest & darkest goose (mallard sized). Black head & neck. Grey-brown back. Grey-white lower breast & flanks 'pale-bellied'. Short, stubby bill. (Adults small white neck patch). Pure-white under-tail. Tail black & very short (shortest of any goose). Flies in loose flocks (not skeins)
  • Max recorded age 18yr 10mths
  • Listen to a Brent Goose (RSPB site)
  • SImilar birds: Barnacle Geese (white faces)
 

"I have been away to the south for a couple of weeks and was dissapointed to here the news of the sad loss of the young osprey chick found on barvas i had read the report on the highland foundation for wildlife site where it was being tracked by radio transmitter.The weather down south was terrible for 2 weeks until the day before i left and so needless to say the camera never came out of my bag.
Back on lewis now and in the last couple of days in around the crofts of garrabost theres been groups of Goldfinches feeding on the thistle,Greenfinches, chaffinches coming to the feeder with young.Also a snipe in and around the burn.
A female Hen harrier on point this morning
regards Andyl
"

Saturday 27th September, 2008

Friday 26th September, 2008 American Golden Plover Torlum - Benbecula juv American Golden Plover. Benbecula, at Torlum
  • American Golden Plover
  • Pluvialis dominica
  • UK: Just 5 annual records
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Rare visitor (less than 30 records) BTO
  • Breeds: North America
  • Winters: South America
  • Habitat: tundra (migration mudflats, grazing land)
  • Diet: insects, seeds, leaves, berries
  • Often when found is in the company of golden plover.
    Usually greyer, less yellow-brown than golden plovers, stonger head pattern
  • Similar birds : Golden Plover
 
Friday 26th September, 2008 Snowy Owl

Aird an Runair - 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)
 

There is a new Birdguides article BTO Eastern visitors arrive en masse about the large numbers of Pied flycatchers and Redstarts that have recently appeared in the UK:

"Over the last few days huge numbers of migrants from northeastern Europe and Scandinavia have made landfall on the east coast of Britain - the largest numbers for over a decade"

The article is accessible to everyone, has great photos and mentions that the Birdtrack reporting rate for both these species is over 5x the usual.

Read the article about Pied Flycatchers & Redstarts

Wednesday 24th September, 2008 American Golden Plover Torlum - Benbecula juv American Golden Plover. Benbecula, at Torlum  
Wednesday 24th September, 2008 Yellow-browed Warbler St Kilda
  • Yellow-browed Warbler
  • Phylloscopus inornatus
  • UK: 320 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce autumn visitor (Very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: North & Central Asia (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
 
Tuesday 23rd September, 2008 Barred Warbler St Kilda
  • Barred Warbler
  • Sylvia nisoria
  • UK: Passage visitor
  • UK: 156 annual UK records BTO
  • WI: Scarce autumn passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • Breeds: Eastern Europe, temperate Asia
  • Winters: East Africa
  • Habitat: Scrubland, open woodland, town
  • Larger warbler, mostly grey above, whitish below
  • Adult male darker grey above, heavily barred below (female only light barring - juveniles none)
  • Diet: Insects, some berries & soft fruit
 
Monday 22nd September, 2008

Buff-bellied Pipit

St Kilda
  • 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
 
Bird sightings :  Barred Warbler

"I have attached a photo of a Barred Warbler, one of the birds your contact in Iceland mentions, hunting through some Common Figwort in my garden at the weekend.
I know it is a poor image but it is all i managed i'm afraid.
However, you can still clearly see what it is?"

 

i wasn't sure what it was when i first spotted it, although i did realise it was not the usual Willow or Garden Warbler.
Interestingly, it was among a flock of House Sparrows so it appears that it is not only Blackcaps that seek safety in numbers with these birds.
It was me who found it but it was Steve Duffield who identified it for me, so it might be a nice to give him a bit of credit?


Frank Stark
Leurbost, Isle of Lewis

Steve Duffield's web site is www.western-isles-wildlife.co.uk

         
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Pied Flycatcher Brevig - Barra
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Ficedula hypoleuca
  • Gaelic: Breacan glas
  • UK: 32,000 pairs (Late April - September visitor) BTO
  • WI: Scarce passage visitor (very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: Europe, North-West Asia
  • Winters: West Africa
  • Habitat: Mature woodland, open forest, (prefers oaks) town parks & gardens
  • Bit smaller than House Sparrow, looks a bit like a Pied Wagtail
    Male mostly black upperparts. White below. Bold white patch on folded wing.
    Female browner
  • Diet: Insects, (feeds caterpillars to nestlings), fruit & seeds late summer & on migration
  • Listen to a Pied Flycatcher on RSPB site
  • Similar birds: Pied Wagtail
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Common Redstart Gleann - Barra    
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Little Stint Traigh Mor - Barra
  • Little Stint
  • Calidris minuta
  • Gaelic: Luatharan beag
  • UK: Passage, winter visitor
  • UK: 770 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce, sometimes uncommon autumn passage visitor (very small numbers each year). Rare (less than 30 records) spring/summer vistor
  • Breeds: Arctic Europe, Asia,
  • Winters: India, Africa
  • Habitat: Tundra (migration mudflats)
  • Diet: Invertebrates at mud surface, crustaceans, molluscs
  • Tiny wading bird. Bill black, short, straight, fine. Legs black, medium-length. Above parts brownish-grey (grey - winter). Below very white. Grey outer tail feathers. Autumn birds have two pale stripes down backs. Quick movements. Often feeds with Dunlin
  • Max recorded age 12yrs
  • Listen to a Little Stint (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Temminck's Stint (very rare), Dunlin
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Common Redpoll Castlebay - Barra
  • Common Redpoll
  • AKA: mealy redpoll or mealies
  • Carduelis flammea flammea
  • Nominate species of common redpoll
  • Most common form found in the Western Isles
  • Found in a broad band across Northern Europe - Scandinavia, Asia, North America.
  • Winter visitor
  • Larger and paler than lesser redpoll.
  • Smaller, browner & more streaked than Arctic redpoll
  • UK400 club splits this as a separate species (i.e. not rostrata - islandica?)
  • See some excellent ID photos of a mealy redpoll
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Tree Pipit Castlebay - Barra
  • Tree Pipit
  • Anthus trivialis
  • UK: 74,000 territiories (summer) BTO
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor April - September
  • WI: Scarce passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years), uncommon in winter (recorded in low numbers each year). One breeding record as at 2001
  • Breeds: Europe to Asia
  • Winters: South of breeding range to India, Africa
  • Habitat: Likes newly planted conifers, open heath, open upland woodland
  • Diet: Mostly insects: Some plant material, like berries in autumn & winter
  • Brown streaked above, pale below. Also streaking on buffish chest & flanks. (Differs from meadow pipits by heavier bill & fine streaking on flank)
  • Listen to a Tree Pipit (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Meadow Pipit, Skylark
  • Max recorded age 3yrs 1mth
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Lapland Bunting Allasdale - Barra
  • Lapland Bunting
  • Calcatius lapponicus
  • UK: Scarce breeder, passage - winter visitor
  • UK: 350 birds (winter) Arrives September - October, leaves by May BTO
  • WI: Scarce passage migrant (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • Breeds: Arctic Europe, Asia, Canada, North America. Birch, willow, bare mountains areas
  • Winters: South to Central Europe, Central Asia, South America, cultivated land or coasts, wet meadows
  • Chunky yellow seed-eater bill. Winter males: very noticeable black crown, face & throat. White eyestripe. Chestnut nape. White below. Heavily streaked black-grey back. Mixed species flocks.
  • Diet: seeds (summer invertebrates)
  • Listen to a Lapland Bunting - RSPB site
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Common Rosefinch Horgabost - Isle of Harris
  • Common Rosefinch (Scarlet Rosefinch)
  • Carpodacus erythrinus
  • UK: 146 annual records - AMBER LIST. BTO
  • UK: Scarce breeder: 1-2 pairs annually. Passage Visitor: May - September
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Breeds: Eastern & Central Europe, Northern & Central Asia
  • Winters: South Asia
  • Habitat: Damp woodland, farmland - weedy stubble
  • Diet: Seeds, buds etc, small invertebrates
  • Sparrow-sized. Mottled brown above, streaked breast, pale belly, tail forked.
    Adult males 1yr+ scarlet head, breast & rump.
    Females, juveniles, 1st year males brown streaked heads
  • Listen to a Common Rosefinch (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds Corn Bunting, Common Crossbill, Two-barred Crossbill
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay
  • Surf Scoter
  • Melanitta perspicillata
  • UK: Accidental
  • UK: Fewer than 20 records BTO
  • WI: Scarce Visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • Breeds: Alaska & Canada
  • Winters: South USA, Europe & UK
  • Habitat: Close to sea, lakes, rivers, tundra
  • Diet: Molluscs, crustaceans, (migration fish eggs)
  • Large sea duck, bulky shape, large bill.
    Male almost all black, white patches nape & forehead. Bulbous red, yellow & white bill. Females brown birds, pale head patches. Head wedge-shaped & no white in wings helps ID female from female velvet scoter
  • Similar birds: Velvet Scoter (rare), Common Scoter , Eider,
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008

Curlew Sandpiper

South Ford - South Uist

  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Calidris ferruginea
  • UK: Scarce passage migrant, mostly seen August & September.
  • UK: 740 annual UK records BTO
  • WI: Scarce sometimes uncommon passage visitor (very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: North Alaska, North Siberia
  • Winters: West Europe, South Asia, South Africa, Australia
  • Habitat: Tundra (migration boggy areas, mudflats, saltmarshes, shallow coastal lagoons)
  • Diet: Small invertebrates, snails, worms, flies
  • Like a dunlin. Differences: Slightly bigger. Feeds in slightly deeper water. In autumn looks paler, cleaner. Longer & more down-curved bill. Longer legs & neck. In flight bright white rump. Both birds have dark legs
    Winter: Pale grey above. White below. White eyestripe. Breeding: dark-grey below, deep chestnut above
    Juveniles: Grey & brown back. White belly. Peach-coloured breast. Gregarious, forms mixed species wader flocks (often with Dunlin)
  • Similar birds: Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper (very rare - legs much longer & paler, has wing bar)
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Green Sandpiper South Ford - South Uist
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Tringa ochropus
  • WI: Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Pectoral Sandpiper Loch Bee - South Uist
  • Pectoral Sandpiper
  • Calididris melanotos
  • UK: Passage migrant. 56 UK records a year (BTO)
  • WI: Scarce visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years. Approx 40 previous records)
  • Breeds: Arctic coast of East Siberia, North America, winters in South America
  • Habitat: wet fields , freshwater pools, marsh or lochsides, boggy ground on (migration mudflats)
  • Fat-bodied, small-headed , larger than Dunlin. ID amongst waders - sharp contrast between the dark-patterned chest and the white belly (pectoral line). Yellowish legs. Bill has pale base. 2 pairs of white lines down the back like a pair of braces. Males in breeding season have an inflatable throat sac - expands and contracts rhythmically during display flights and creates a series of hollow hoots
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ardvule Point - South Uist
  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  • Tryngites subruficollis
  • UK: Less than 20 records BTO
  • UK: Scarce visitor
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Breeds: Northern Canada, Alaska
  • Winters: South America
  • Habitat is tundra, grazing land, machair, estuaries, golf courses, air fields, pools or mudflats on the sea shore - prefers dry or short grass...
  • Diet: mostly invertebrates, plant seeds
  • Dunlin sized wader
  • Black eye on plain face, pale eye ring
  • Legs mustard yellow
 
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Wilson's Phalarope Baile Gharbhaidh - Loch Bee - South Uist    
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Black-headed Bunting Castlebay - Barra    
Sunday 21st September, 2008 Buff-breasted Sandpiper West Gerenish - South Uist    
Friday 19th September, 2008

Buff-bellied Pipit

St Kilda
  • 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
 
Friday 19th September, 2008 Snowy Owl St Kilda    
Friday 19th September, 2008 Pectoral Sandpiper Loch Bee - South Uist    
Friday 19th September, 2008 Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ardvule Point - South Uist    
Friday 19th September, 2008 Iceland Gull Stornoway Harbour
  • Iceland Gull
  • Larus glaucoides
  • Uncommon winter and passage visitor , scarce in summer
  • 70 - 80 birds (usually singular) winter in UK RSPB
  • Usually smaller than herring gull. All plumages very pale, no black in wings or tail. Immatures pale-creamy brown with fine barring. Rounded head, large dark eyes. Flight: "short-necked", very pale wings - white tips
  • Breeds: Arctic Canada, Greenland (not Iceland)
  • Winters: North Atlantic, South to North Europe - UK, East coast USA
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes
  • Diet: It's an omnivore: Mostly fish, some carrion, eggs & young of other birds
  • Similar birds: Glaucous gull (they're usually larger & more frequent
 
Wednesday 17th September, 2008 Buff-breasted Sandpiper West Gerenish - South Uist    
Wednesday 17th September, 2008

Curlew Sandpiper

Ardvule - South Uist

   

An influx of migrating Honey Buzzards has been recorded across the UK over the last few days.
Over 300 reports have been made across many counties.

There is a great online article on the subject in the Telegraph online, including a few comments from Mark Golley who produces Bird Guides weekly review...
See the article about the influx of Honey Buzzards
16th September 2008

There is an interesting animated map on the Surfbirds web site plotting the movement of the Honey Buzzards across the UK in the 2000 invasion which the current influx is being compared to. (Great ID notes there too).

NB: There was a Honey Buzzard from Tiumpanhead, Lewis on Sept 23rd 2005 (Grahame & Jackie), so eyes to the skies and look twice at the juvenile Buzzards!

There are photos of some of the Honey Buzzards that have passed through posted on the Bird Guides Bird of the week page which is accessible without subscription

Tuesday 16th September, 2008

Curlew Sandpiper

Ardvule - South Uist

   
Tuesday 16th September, 2008 Ruff Ardvule - South UIst
  • Ruff (female also called Reeve)
  • Philomachus pugnax
  • Gaelic: Gibeagan
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor. AMBER LIST. 700 birds winter BTO . Breeding 37 males RSPB
  • WI: Scarce & sometimes uncommon passage visitor (Usually very small numbers each year, but sometimes up to 50 birds). Aug/Sept. Two winter records. May have bred
  • Breeds: Bogs, marshes, wet meadows. Nests in short vegetation. Females raise the young. Northern Europe, Russia, Asia
  • Winters: South of breeding range to Africa, India, Australia
  • Habitat: Grassy tundra, croftland, farmland, machair, lakes (migration mudflats)
  • Diet: Forages wet grassland & mud, probing or by sight. Mainly insects, earthworms, some plant material, seeds (winter), larvae, frogs, small fish
  • Medium-sized wader (22-32cm length). Pot-bellied profile. Long neck, small head. Medium, slightly drooping bill. Yellowish-orange med-long legs.
    Breeding males spectacular black, chestnut or white neck ruffs & head tufts. Backs grey-brown. White below except for black breast. Flight: Faint wing-stripe & oval white patches either side of the tail. Gregarious - a wintering flock of 1 million occured (Senegal)
  • Max recorded age 9yrs
  • Similar bird: Redshank
  • Listen to a Ruff (RSPB site)
 
Tuesday 16th September, 2008 Buff-breasted Sandpiper West Gerenish - South Uist    
Tuesday 16th September, 2008 Grey Phalarope Ardvule - South Uist
  • Grey Phalarope (Red Phalarope, Red-Footed Tringa, Sea Goose, Sea Snipe, Bank-Bird, Brown Bank-Bird, Flat-Billed Phalarope, Gray Bank-Bird, Gray Phalarope, Gulf Bird, Mackerel Goose)
  • 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
 
Tuesday 16th September, 2008 Rough-legged Buzzard Ness - Isle of Lewis
  • Rough-legged Buzzard
  • Buteo lagopus
  • UK: Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: 70 annual records BTO
  • WI: Accidental (less than 30 records)
  • Breeds: Nests in trees or on rocky cliffs in valleys (upland or Arctic). Europe (not UK), Asia, North America,
  • Winters: Open upland marshland & moorland. Mostly migrates to south & east Europe including British east coast. USA
  • Habitat: Hunts across open land. Tundra, farmland, open coniferous forest
  • Diet: small mammals, some carrion
  • How it differs to Common Buzzard: More Eagle-like, Slightly larger. Wings longer, floppier, typically paler head & below. White tail has a broad dark band at its tip. Arctic bird has that has adapted by having feet that feet are feathered to the toes. Hovers
  • Max recorded age 18yrs 9mths
    Similar birds: Common Buzzard, Honey Buzzard (rare), Golden Eagle
 
Bird sightings : Stilt Sandpiper

Martin Scott sent in this photograph of the Stilt Sandpiper

Monday 15th September, 2008 Stilt Sandpiper North Bay - Ardvule - South Uist
  • Stilt Sandpiper
  • Calidris himantopus
  • UK: 1958 -2004 just 20 records BTO
  • UK: Accidental
  • WI: Very rare visitor (less than 5 records). Not on the 2005 Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist
  • Breeds: Nests on the ground. lays 3-4 eggs. Open coasts. Arctic North America
  • Winters: Inland waters. Central & South America. Rare vagrant to W Europe
  • Habitat: Tundra (migration mudflats, flooded fields)
  • Slightly larger than Dunlin. Curved bill. Long wings. Long neck. White rump (back above tail). Pale stripe over eye (supercilium). Legs much longer & paler than Curlew Sandpiper's & no noticeable wing bar in flight.
    Breeding adult heavily barred below. Strong head pattern. Reddish patches above & below the pale eye stripe. Brown back feathers (dark centres).
    Winter bird grey above. White below.
    Juvenile resembles adult (brownish back). Not barred below. Back feathers have white fringes.
  • Diet: Forages muddy areas, picking up food by sight & probing. Mainly insects, other invertebrates, aquatic plant seeds
  • Similar birds: Curlew Sandpiper (legs much shorter & dark, no wing bar)
 
Monday 15th September, 2008 Grey Phalarope Ardvule - South Uist    
Monday 15th September, 2008 Surf Scoter Sound of Taransay    
Bird sightings : Curlew Sandpiper

"Thought this may be of interest.

A sprinkling of Curlew Sandpipers around Lewis today - here is a comparison shot with the more familiar Dunlin"

Martin Scott

Sunday 14th September, 2007

Curlew Sandpiper

(15 birds total today)

Bragar - Isle of Lewis

Shawbost - Isle of lewis

Ardvule - South Uist

   
Sunday 14th September, 2007 Buff-breasted Sandpiper Ardivachar - South Uist    
Sunday 14th September, 2007 Grey Phalarope Ardvule - South Uist    
Sunday 14th September, 2007 Stilt Sandpiper North Bay - Ardvule - South Uist    
Sunday 14th September, 2007 Snowy Owl

Balranald - North Uist

  • Snowy Owl
  • Nyctea scandiaca, Bubo scandiacus
  • AKA: Arctic Owl, Great White Owl, Catyogle, Child's Snowman
  • UK: 3 records a year (BTO) (1958-2004 total of 159 records)
  • UK: accidental, former breeder
  • WI: Vagrant
  • 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:

6th -14th September 2008 included:

Citrine Wagtail, Pied Flycatchers (lots), Spotted Flycatchers, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Common Redstarts, Common Swifts, Willow Warblers, Sand Martin, Barn Swallows, House Martin, Whinchat, Lesser Whitethroats, Common Whitethroat, Barred Warbler.....Common Kestrel, Ruff, Eurasian Siskins, Ring-billed Gull, Common Crossbills, Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Wood Pigeons, American Wigeon

MIDGE ALERT!    Flycatchers here in about a week?

Thank-you Yann

 

Single female Blackcap at Sheshader - the first of the season we have seen this year in our garden along with Wrens, Stonechats, Wheatears, Robins, Meadow Pipits plus up to 40 Greenfinches at a time on and around our feeders.
John H
13th September, 2008

Were there any House Sparrows with the Blackcap?

"Not actually with the blackcap but we have some all the time in front and back gardens. especially in the honeysuckle."

     

Stocky in shape, and about the size of a house sparrow, the Blackcap is one of our larger warblers.

The Blackcap is said to be often found with sparrows, although if you watch them together for a while it sometimes becomes apparent that it is not always a mutual choice.

We get a few Blackcaps visit us in the Western Isles each year, mostly in October and November.

The voice is a "teck", a tongue clicking sound, and the melodious warble that is it's song, has earned the blackcap the name "The Northern Nightingale".

Active and alert by nature, rather shy and elusive, often disappearing into dense undergrowth except when singing.

Tag line "I think I saw one ..."

 
Friday 12th September, 2008 Buff-breasted Sandpiper Drimsdale - South Uist
  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  • Tryngites subruficollis
  • UK: Less than 20 records BTO
  • UK: Scarce visitor
  • WI: Rare visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Breeds: Northern Canada, Alaska
  • Winters: South America
  • Habitat is tundra, grazing land, machair, estuaries, golf courses, air fields, pools or mudflats on the sea shore - prefers dry or short grass...
  • Diet: mostly invertebrates, plant seeds
  • Dunlin sized wader
  • Black eye on plain face, pale eye ring
  • Legs mustard yellow
 
Thursday 11th September, 2008 Little Stint South Bay - Ardvule - South Uist
  • Little Stint
  • Calidris minuta
  • Gaelic: Luatharan beag
  • UK: Passage, winter visitor
  • UK: 770 annual records BTO
  • WI: Scarce, sometimes uncommon autumn passage visitor (very small numbers each year). Rare (less than 30 records) spring/summer vistor
  • Breeds: Arctic Europe, Asia,
  • Winters: India, Africa
  • Habitat: Tundra (migration mudflats)
  • Diet: Invertebrates at mud surface, crustaceans, molluscs
  • Tiny wading bird. Bill black, short, straight, fine. Legs black, medium-length. Above parts brownish-grey (grey - winter). Below very white. Grey outer tail feathers. Autumn birds have two pale stripes down backs. Quick movements. Often feeds with Dunlin
  • Max recorded age 12yrs
  • Listen to a Little Stint (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Temminck's Stint (very rare), Dunlin
 
Thursday 11th September, 2008 Glaucous Gull Barvas - 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
 
Wednesday 10th September, 2008 Leach's Storm-petrel Ardvule - South Uist
  • Leach's Storm-petrel (Leach's Petrel, Leach's Fork-tailed Storm Petrel, British Storm Petrel, British Storm-Petrel, European Storm Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, European Stormpetrel, Mother Carey's Chicken, Storm Petrel, Storm-Petrel, Stormy Petrel)
  • Oceanodroma leucorhoa
  • UK: AMBER LIST, 51,000 pairs (summer) BTO
  • WI: Common migrant breeder (1000 -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, British & Irish birds go to tropics (some stay in North Atlantic)
  • 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)
  • Starling sized seabird.. All black below, mostly black above, (upperwing pale band of mid-feathers), (underwing no white band) V-shaped white rump patch only reaches partway down the side, with centre dark line (storm petrel's go far down), Forked tail.
  • Listen to a Leach's Storm-petrel ( RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Storm Petrel (NOT forked tail),
 
Wednesday 10th September, 2008 Sooty Shearwaters Ardivachar Point - South Uist    

Article in the Forres Gazette online about the dead Osprey

Includes an interview with Professor Roy Dennis, founder of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife and who pioneered the White-tailed Eagle re-introduction to Scotland, where it was extinct... Scotland now has 200+ White-tailed Eagles ...

10th September, 2008

Tuesday 9th September, 2008 Willow Warbler Stornoway - Isle of Lewis

"single at Marybank Lodge, Castle Grounds this am"

  • Willow Warbler, Willow Wren
  • Phylloscopus trochilus
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • UK: 2.1 million pairs (Summer), AMBER LIST BTO
  • WI: Uncommon Migrant Breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) and passage visitor (low numbers).
  • Breeds: Domed, feather-lined nest on ground: Northern & temperate Europe (inc Western Isles), Asia
  • Winters: sub-Saharan Africa (most), tropical & South Africa
  • Habitat: Birch or willow open woodland, scrub, shrubby tundra, gardens
  • Leaf warbler: Bluetit sized bird, grey-brown greenish back, pale below, yellow tinged-chest & throat, pale supercillium (eyebrow stripe)
  • Diet: Insects, spiders (fruit, berries in autumn)
  • Listen to a Willow Warbler (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Chiffchaff (different song darkish legs, shorter darker bill, less elegant shape)
Grahame
 
View an article on the BBC web site about the dead Osprey found in Barvas
Tuesday 9th September
Bird Sightings - Sparrowhawk "Quite a few lochs are named after the Sparrowhawk (Loch Speireag).

I dont know exactly when the lochs were given their titles but there is a good chance some were named by Vikings, so it is possible Sparrowhawks have been in the Western Isles since, and probably even before this time?

They breed here most years and 2008 has been no exception.

I have attached a photo of a juv female sparrowhawk recently taken in my garden "
Frank Stark

Monday 8th September, 2008 Tree Pipit Glen - Barra
  • Tree Pipit
  • Anthus trivialis
  • UK: 74,000 territiories (summer) BTO
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor April - September
  • WI: Scarce passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years), uncommon in winter (recorded in low numbers each year). One breeding record as at 2001
  • Breeds: Europe to Asia
  • Winters: South of breeding range to India, Africa
  • Habitat: Likes newly planted conifers, open heath, open upland woodland
  • Diet: Mostly insects: Some plant material, like berries in autumn & winter
  • Brown streaked above, pale below. Also streaking on buffish chest & flanks. (Differs from meadow pipits by heavier bill & fine streaking on flank)
  • Listen to a Tree Pipit (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Meadow Pipit, Skylark
  • Max recorded age 3yrs 1mth
 
Monday 8th September, 2008 Barred Warbler Glen - Barra
  • Barred Warbler
  • Sylvia nisoria
  • UK: Passage vistor
  • UK: 156 annual UK records BTO
  • Breeds: Eastern Europe, temperate Asia
  • Winters: East Africa
  • Habitat: Scrubland, open woodland, town
  • Larger warbler, mostly grey above, whitish below
  • Adult male darker grey above, heavily barred below (female only light barring - juveniles none)
  • Diet: Insects, some berries & soft fruit
 
Monday 8th September, 2008 Lesser Whitethroat Glen - Barra
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Sylvia curruca
  • UK: 64 thousand territories (Summer)
  • UK: Migrant breeder, passage visitor. Arrives: April - May. Leaves: August - September
  • Breeds: Eurasia
  • Winters: Africa - india
  • Diet: Autumn berries, insects (nectar pre-migration)
  • Habitat: Scrub, semi-desert! hedges!
  • Breaking cover shows white outer tail feathers. Looks like has a mask: dark cheek feathers contrasting with white throat. Secretive warbler
  • UK: 64,000 territories summer BTO
  • Listen to a lesser whitethroat on the RSPB site
 
Monday 8th September, 2008 Snowy Owl

Balranald - North Uist

  • Snowy Owl
  • Nyctea scandiaca, Bubo scandiacus
  • AKA: Arctic Owl, Great White Owl, Catyogle, Child's Snowman
  • UK: 3 records a year (BTO) (1958-2004 total of 159 records)
  • UK: accidental, former breeder
  • WI: Vagrant
  • 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)
 
Sunday 7th September, 2008 Citrine Wagtail

St Kilda

+ Carnan - South Uist

  • Citrine Wagtail
  • Motacilla citreola
  • UK: 4 records annually BTO
  • UK: Scarce visitor
  • WI: Very rare (5 or less records)
  • Breeds: Nests on ground. North & Central Asia
  • Winters: South Asia
  • Habitat: Open country near water. Wet meadows, loch shores, marshes
  • Diet: Insect eater (mostly aquatic ones)
  • Slender & long with wagging tail. Breeding adult male mostly grey above. Bright yellow underparts. Yellow head.
    Other plumages whitish yellow underparts. Browner head.

 
Bird Sightings - Kestrel Bird Sightings - Kestrel
"Please find 3 photos of female Kestrel found without its head (sorry) found on Europie beach 5.9.08.
Photos show very good definition of wing feathers and black claws on its legs."

John Burgis

Bird Sightings : Osprey

Sad end for the Osprey

http://www.roydennis.org/Moray%2084131.htm

note the sat pack on the back of this bird

Martin
RSPB Conservation Officer (Western Isles)

Masses of information at the linked page very well worth a look


Sunday 7th August, 2008 Osprey

Barvas - Isle of Lewis

  • Osprey
  • Pandion haliaetus
  • AKA: Fish Eagle, Sea Hawk, Fish Hawk
  • Gaelic: Iolar Uisge
  • UK AMBER LIST. 148 pairs (Summer) BTO 4 UK nest records
  • WI Scarce passage visitor (usually May) 1-4 records annually
  • European breeders usually generally winter in Africa. Females migrating before males . Birds fly up to 430km a day
  • Habitat: Lakes & Lochs, rivers, sea coasts (usually nests near freshwater) Some nests used for 70 yrs
  • Diet: 99% fish, caught in barb-like talons. Hovers then dives (to) 1m deep after fish (closeable nostrils). Sometimes diet includes small birds or rodents, reptiles etc.
  • Large (2ft length, 6ft wingspan). Upperparts deep shiny brown. Breast (sometimes streaked) & other underparts white. Head white with dark mask-like eye patch. Golden rises. Black bill. White feet, black talons. Tail short. Wings long & narrow with "fingers". In flight arched wings gull-like with downturned "hands". Sexes fairly similar see WIKI for detailed ID .
    Mates for life
  • Max recorded age 26yrs 1 month. Typical lifespan 8yrs
 
Sunday 7th September, 2008 Pink-footed Goose Callanish - Isle of Lewis Single Pink foot still with the Greylags, no sign of the Canada Geese
  • Pink-footed Geese (Pinks, Pinkfeet, Pink Foots)
  • Anser brachyrhynchus
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Winter visitor. 241,000 birds BTO (October - April)
  • WI: Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers) and scarce winter visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years) .
  • Breeds: On cliffs near glaciers & on small islands in lakes avoiding predators (Arctic Fox). 3-6 eggs laid. On hatching, goslings walk with parents to nearest lake. Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard.
  • Winters: Migrates south mid-Sept to early Oct (heads north mid-April to early-May). (Two populations: Greenland & Iceland population winter in UK.Svalbard population winters in Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Northern Germany, Belgium
  • Habitat: Tundra lakes, rivers, wet meadows, large estuaries, & on nearby grazing land
  • Diet: Grazing: Plant material: grass & other leaves, roots, tubers like potatoes, shoots, grain
  • Medium-sized dainty looking goose. Pinkish-grey-brown with darker head & neck. Short, pink bill with black base & tip. Pink feet & legs. Grey tail with broad white tip. The upper feathers pale bluish-grey. White rear. Flight feathers blackish-grey. (Bean Goose has orange instead of pink legs & on bill, & paler, greyer plumage).
  • Typical lifespan 8yrs. Max recorded lifespan 38yrs 7mths
  • Listen to a Pink-footed Goose (RSPB site) High-pitched honking, particularly vocal in flight, with large skeins being said to be almost deafening!
  • Similar birds: Bean Goose, White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose
SK
There must have been something seriously wrong with the raven for it died before i could get the Vet to look at it.
F
Saturday 7th August, 2008 Little Stint South Ford - South Uist
  • Calidris minuta
  • Passage, winter visitor
  • 770 UK annual records
  • Tiny wading bird, short straight fine black bill, medium-length black legs, brownish-grey above (grey - winter) very white below, quick movements, dark legs & grey outer tail feathers
  • Autumn birds have two pale stripes down backs, often feed with dunlin
  • Breeds: Arctic Europe, Asia
  • Winters: India, Africa
  • Habitat: Tundra, (migration mudflats)
  • Diet: Invertebrates at mud surface
    BTO records
  • Listen to little stint on RSPB site
 

What is it safe to say on the site about bird locations:

"Its just the breeding season that this is an issue.
Both eagles and Peregrine March - August inclusive probably not a good idea to mention specifics other than "North Harris", " South Lewis" that type of thing is ok
HH, Merlin - areas ok, but nor too much specific

R N Phalaropes - don't mention sites other that loch na Muilne reserve at Arnol"

Thanks to Martin

Saturday 7th September. 2007 Sparrowhawk Achmore - Isle of lewis

"Suddenly a small flock of Sparrows hurtled past in front of me hotly pursed by male Sparrowhawk, just opposite that plantation - good job I drive so slowly - 2nd Sparrowhawk in two weeks for me"

Just looked on the RSPB site which specifically says the Sparrowhawk is not found in the Western Isles Outer Hebrides Bird Report and Terry's photos tell a different story..we even have breeding records!"

  • 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)

 

SK

RSPB Garden Birdwatch January 2008 results for the Western Isles

 
% (Approx)
Starling
21
House Sparrow
11
Blackbird
3
Greenfinch
3
Collar Dove
3
Chaffinch
2
Feral Pigeon
1
Robin
1
Hooded Crow
1
Great Tit
1

County-by-county table of results to compare different areas document:
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2008 PDF 50Kb

Siskins were in the UK top 20 this year for the first time
Brambling, Goldfinch and Redpoll numbers were also up

Nationally the average number of birds seen in each garden has declined by 20% since 2004
House sparrows decreased by approx 65% since 1979, and Starlings by 75% in the same period

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2008 analysis page

2009 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is 24-25 January

Friday 5th September Lesser Whitethroat Port of Ness - Isle of Lewis    
A quick visit to our neighbours at the Icelandic Birding Pages:

31st August 2008 - 5th September 2008 included:

Willow Warbler, Little Gull, Eurasian Siskins, Common Greenshank, Common Rosefinch, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Barred Warbler, Bar-tailed Godwits, Barn Swallow, Lapland Buntings ...

Thank-you Yann

Friday 5th September Barred Warbler Port of Ness - Isle of Lewis    
Bird Sightings - Great Skua   The birds had good sea fishing just off Croir today - half a dozen Gannets within feet of me instead of the odd one or two at a distance, they have been at it all day. Lots of Gulls, Shag, a Fulmar and a Great Skua - first one of those I have seen from there. Not a Meadow Pipit in the area today when there have been minimum of twenty for a few weeks. I tried for ages to get a Gannet plunging into the sea - just lots of empty sea photos or splashes, they are so incredibly fast
SK
Friday 5th September
Thursday 4th September, 2008 Sooty Shearwaters Butt of lewis    
Thursday 4th September, 2008 Sabine's Gull Tiumpanhead - Point - Isle of lewis
  • Passage visitor
  • 140 annual UK records
  • Breeds: Arctic (forms colonies)
  • Winters: Pacific and Atlantic Ocean
  • Habitat: Coastal wet heath during breding season, mostly at sea otherwise
  • Diet: Fish and small invertebrates
  • Smaller than a black-headed gull
  • Juvenile sounds like a young tern
  • BTO records
 
I picked up a sick Raven today. The bird is not injured but is thin, so i have a feeling that i m ight get this one sorted and return it to the wild. Could be a number of things, and it may just be a youngster unable to find enoufgh food, but Hector Low the vet is good with me when i turn up with these things and i'm sure he will cover all possibilities, internal parasites,bacterial infection, fungal infection etc etc.
F

 

Times do change - a few years back bird food in Lewis used to be a sack of chicken grain, the staff of the supplies shop being horrified that sparrows and the like would get it.

Ran this survey last year to see what we were spending.
(It is not accurate )

So was not surprised yesterday to see that they were unpacking vast quantities of bird food supplies in the Willowglen Garden Centre in Stornoway

Super-delux specialist Robin food etc, shelves and shelves to choose from. This is not meant as a free advert, but just thought you might like to know it is there... (shopping day might get more interesting - folk in the Uists get extra waders instead)

BTO say that feeding our garden birds during summer can help them through the winter.
RSPB Feed The Birds Day is over the weekend of 25 and 26 October

 

"Just a quick note to say the birds in the pic labelled bar tailed Godwit are actually Snipe
 Cheers"
 Martin
Thursday 4th September, 2008 Kestrel Lundale - 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, Gaelic: Speireag-ruadh)
  • Falco tinnunculus
  • AMBER LIST, UK 37,000 breeding pairs BTO
  • 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
  • Falcon. Head to tail 34 – 38cm (13 - 15in) Female usually largest. Mostly cinnamon-brown above with dark spots. Creamy below. Long tails have dark terminal band & narrow white rim. Pointed wings.
    Male: blue-grey head & uppertail (tail unbarred).
    Female: brown head & uppertail (tail fine black bars).
    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 3rd September 2008
Baird's Sandpiper St Kilda
  • Only 4 UK records annually
  • Breeds: Northern tundra - East Siberia to West Greenland
  • Winters: South America
  • Habitat Coastal & Alpine tundra (migration mudflats, grazing land)
  • Diet mostly insects, small crustaceans
  • BTO site says a Baird's Sandpiper lays a clutch of eggs that is up to 120% of her body mass in four days...
  • May be hybriding with white-rumped sandpiper
 

Some Osprey sightings in Lewis this week:

Far East lewis (Pairc)
Monday evening
Far East lewis (Pairc)
Tuesday Morning
Far East Lewis/Harris Loch Seaforth (Near Pairc ) Tuesday
Far West Lewis (Barvas) Tuesday late afternoon
Far West Lewis (Barvas) Wednesday

Osprey

For those wondering what an Osprey looks like up in the sky here is a photo
(I usually try to keep the photos to ones actually taken here but until one is sent in this one by John Boyer could be useful)

The bird seen tuesday & wednesday was a juvenile

 

 

Bird Sightings "I was out with Grahame one day and took this pic dated 16-05-2005 but forgot what he said it was and I was sending it to you for the birds I.D page (unless you can I.D. it.)"
John Hamilton

Fun to try the ID... my best offer is a swallow species

There is a photo of a Red-rumped Swallow on the Scilly Birds site that has the tail feathers spread rather like that, and on another site a picture of a Swallow's tail showing a similar white patterning.

Hirundininae is the Swallows and Martins family (excluding River Martins) "Martin" is usually used for the squarer-tailed species, "Swallow" for the fork-tailed species.The family contains around 83 species!

Not all have ID notes or pictures in WIKI ...

It does not look much like the Barn Swallow or the Red-rumped Swallow pictures that have been sent in and they are the only two Swallow species on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist

That black chin is rare in a Swallow.
I might be barking up the wrong tree (again)

Does anyone know what it is?

 

Hi all,
Your mystery bird is a Common (now also known as Barn) Swallow (hirundo
rustica).
Glad to see you had a Sab's Gull a week or so back - I had one yesterday
flying over the surf at Ainsdale on Merseyside.
Trip back to the islands long overdue,

regards
John Dempsey
http://birdblog.merseyblogs.co.uk

 

 

Hi Suzanne
Grahame said:
 

"Hi John,
its a Barn Swallow, due to the light the red throat appears black, and the individual white spots on the tail are due to the extreme spread of the tail.
cheers
Grahame"

John


Wednesday 3rd September 2008
Osprey

Barvas - Isle of Lewis

   

Wednesday 3rd September 2008
Snowy Owl

Balranald - North Uist

   

Wednesday 3rd September 2008

Snipe (7)

Pink-footed goose

Siskins


Callanish - Isle of Lewis

Bird Sightings : Snipe

"At the shore of East Loch Roag. 7 birds with rufous colouring. I was not expecting to see them... just saw the curve of the top of the head of one and thought it was a curlew (lots of them in this area), but the bird stayed stock still which seemed odd because the curlews just carry on or fly - then I saw the bill and the colour, and suddenly 7 of them flew up, a lovely surprise on a very fine morning...I thought that they were bar-tailed godwits but ..."

Just a quick note to say the birds in the pic labelled bar tailed Godwit are actually Snipe
 Cheers
 Martin

 

... later in the day a single pink-footed goose with greylags and 3 vivid yellow & black siskins feeding on creeping thistle seeds"


SK
Tuesday 2nd September, 2008 Osprey

Pairc - Isle of Lewis

Barvas - Isle of Lewis

Loch Seaforth

   
Tuesday 2nd September, 2008 Snowy Owl

Balranald - North Uist

   
A quick visit to our neighbours at the Icelandic Birding Pages:

25th August 2008 - 1st September included:

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Barred Warbler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Mute Swan, Eurasian Siskins, Common Greenshank, Hooded Merganser, American Golden Plover, Sooty Shearwaters, Barn Swallow and a Grey Heron ...


Grey Heron is resident and a winter visitor to the UK. The BTO Migration Atlas shows a movement from Iceland to the UK outside of the breeding season (it is also mentioned that migrating herons use a flapping flight and can migrate at night ).
I asked Yann about the Grey Herons in Iceland.

"We have usually 40-60 wintering Grey Herons around the country (sometimes more). They are however very rare in summer but in recent years we’ve had the occasional oversummering individual".

Thank-you Yann

Monday 1st September, 2008 Glaucous Gull Barvas - Isle of Lewis
  • Glaucous Gull
  • Larus hyperboreus
  • Winter Visitor, 200+ UK (winter) RSPB
  • Breeds Arctic & Northern Atlantic European coasts: Greenland, Iceland, North Russia, North North America. (nests on ground or cliffs)
  • Winters: Mostly North Atlantic & North Pacific oceans, some go as far south as Northern Mexico
  • Large gull: bigger, bulkier than herring gull. Pale wingtips (no black in wings & tail)
    Adult pearl-grey above, thick yellow bill. Immatures: very pale-grey, creamy-white or biscuit coloured with pink & black bill.
    More fierce looking than similar (smaller) Iceland gull
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes, rubbish tips, reservoirs, fishing ports (with other winter gulls)
  • Diet: Omnivorous: mostly animals, also other seabirds ( in flight) scavenges carrion, scraps & is a pirate
  • Listen to a glaucous gull (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: herring gull, Iceland gull
 
         

 

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