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Hebridean Imaging

Hebridean Imaging


Mid May and the North wind continues!

Another busy week of early mornings spent nest finding and chick chasing. The weather is still a little chill – over 40 consecutive days with North in the wind!

Plenty of Lapwing chicks around this week but the Oystercatchers still seem to be sitting tight.

There have been plenty of Meadow Pipits along the machair – hundreds in fact! The ones we’ve caught and ringed have had a good amount of fat so we are presuming that they are passing through. On the Curracag Forum (Curracag is the Outer Hebrides Natural History Society) there was a report from one of the other ringers here in the Outer Hebrides, Chris who lives in Lewis, who has trapped and ringed 98 Meadow Pipits to date this year – many of which, he commented, were very fat.

Ever since i was a child i’ve always thought that one of the best sounds of spring is the Skylark, there are plenty of them all along the machair this week too.

Skylark - Hebridean Imaging bird and wildlife photography

Skylark out on the machair

There are reasonable numbers of Whimbrel this week, they are also passing through on their way to their breeding grounds in Iceland.

Whimbrel - Hebridean Imaging bird and wildlife photography


It’s been too windy for mist netting this week. Most days we’ve been to North Locheynort, it’s a great place for a walk around and especially in the wooded area where it is nice and sheltered. We were very happy to see a male Pied Flycatcher there on the 9th May and on the 11th we found 3 male Blackcaps on our early morning walk.

On the 10th May the normally mundane weekly shopping trip to the Co-op at Daliburgh was brightened up by the sight of a smart male Pied Flycatcher in Askernish and then Sand Martin was added to the year list with the sight of 7 flying low over Loch nan Clacha-mora (otherwise known as the loch behind the Co-op!).

Ian and Bill next door have been re-living their childhood days – they wandered off down the road on a sunny afternoon complete with jars and fishing net – after furtling around in the nearby stream they were very happy to have found 3-spined Stickleback (new for this 10km square!) and what i’m reliably informed is a Horny Orb Mussel – these mussels are apparantly very biosensitive and only thrive in nice clean water. They had already been recorded as appearing in this 10km square – it seems that Ian and Bill aren’t the only ones who like a bit of afternoon fishing 🙂

3-spined Stickleback

3-spined Stickleback

Horny Orb Mussel

Horny Orb Mussel

Rest assured all critters were returned unharmed to the stream after having had their mugshots taken 🙂

There are still a few Pale-bellied Brent’s around on the machair:-

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Hebridean Imaging bird and wildlife photography

Pale-bellied Brents on the machair at Bornish

The wind direction looks like it should be changing so we are hoping that we may be able to get some skua passage.

Moths this week? – Sadly it’s been too cold and windy to put the trap out – surely things can only get better??

We’ve just finished inputting the House Sparrow sightings for April 2012 so here are the details of our ringing during April.

New Retraps TOTAL
Woodpigeon 1 1
Collared Dove 1 1
Meadow Pipit 16 1 17
Pied/White Wagtail 1 1 2
Wren 2 2 4
Blackbird 8 11 19
Song Thrush 4 1 5
Redwing 3 3
Chiffchaff 2 2
Willow Warbler 1 1 2
Starling 5 2 7
House Sparrow 4 249 253
Greenfinch 11 43 54
Goldfinch* 1 1
Twite 1 1
Lesser Redpoll* 5 5 10
Grand Total: 65 317 382
Total Species: 15 11 16

Interesting birds were Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll controls which were captured on the 26th and 29th of the month respectively. Once we hear back from the BTO i will post the details of where they had come from. Also of interest during April were a Pied Wagtail which we had originally ringed on the 23rd September 2010 and a Willow Warbler which we first ringed on the 5th June 2011 – it never ceases to amaze me that birds turn up again in the exact same place! As usual the high number of House Sparrow retraps were sightings of our colour-ringed birds – including the one that has moved to Bayhead on North Uist.

Pied Wagtail first ringed by us in September 2010, recaptured April 2012