Find out what's around in Glendale, Isle of Skye, with our regularly updated wildlife sighting and nature reports.
If you see any interesting or unusual wildlife in the Glendale area, please or give Andy a call on (01470) 511354.
For the very latest information about recent bird sightings on the Isle of Skye, please visit Bob McMillan's excellent Skye Birds web-site.
I have set up a Facebook page, Glendale Skye Auroras, to provide alerts and information about sightings of the Northern Lights in Glendale, as we are now at the peak of solar activity and likely to see regular auroras in 2012 and 2013.
Click the "like" button above if you want to receive regular updates and remember to "share" with your friends.
There first basking shark of the season and a minke whale were seen off Neist Point in the morning (Bob McMillan).
A seawatch at Neist Point from 0800 to 1200 hours produced 28 pomarine skuas, a group of 4 long-tailed skuas, 2 arctic skuas and 15 whimbrels (Bob McMillan).
There was a report of a Leach's petrel, 13 pomarine skuas, 2 arctic skuas and 4 bonxies during a 1.5 hour seawatch at Neist Point (per skye-birds.com).
Temperatures plunged to 3.8°C overnight and there were heavy showers of sleet and hail, which started at around 10:30pm yesterday night and continued into this morning.
There have been redpolls, linnets, siskins and a male reed bunting visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage all week (T&E Bishop, A&AS). It is very unusual for redpolls to visit feeders, although linnets and reed buntings regularly use them when other sources of food are scarce.
There was a male brambling visiting the bird feeders at Mairi Fawkes's house in Fasach today. This only the 2nd known record of this species in Glendale and is an extremely late date for one to still be here (per Bob McMillan).
A whimbrel was flying up and down below the bottom road throughout Milovaig tittering loudly at around 5pm, before heading out into the Minch.
Cuckoos were back and calling at Lephin and Holmisdale this evening.
There was a cuckoo calling at Hamaraverin at 7:30am. They've been extremely scarce this spring and this is only the second report (Clare Gray). There was also another report from Upper Milovaig in the morning (Andrea Cross), possibly the same bird.
There was a pair of redpolls visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage (T&E Bishop). Although this is a common breeding species in Glendale, it is extremely unusual for them to visit bird feeders and is indicative that birds are struggling for food this spring due to the prolonged cold spell.
Andy Harding set a moth trap again on May 1st and captured a pine beauty, which is only the third ever record of this species on the Isle of Skye, together with 10 hebrew characters, 2 clouded drabs and a common quaker.
There were three pale-bellied brent geese on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 7:30am, our first record of this species since 2009.
There was a white wagtail at Meanish Pier (T&E Bishop).
There was a female blackcap and a male reed bunting visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage (T&E Bishop).
There was a single whimbrel by the water treatment plant on the Dunvegan-Skinidin road (T&E Bishop).
There was a report of two barnacle geese on the sheep parks at Waterstein (per skye-birds.com).
There were two minke whales close in-shore at Neist Point in the morning (RMcM, MB, SH).
The 'Skye-Birds' team (RMcM, MB & SH) got an impressive haul of sightings at Neist Point during a 3-hour seawatch this morning including: 4 purple sandpipers, 5 whimbrels, 7 bonxies, 2 great northern and 2 red-throated divers, a flock of 46 barnacle geese, over 1000+ kittiwakes and good numbers of puffins, manx shearwaters and auks.
There was a male blackcap on feeders at the Dunvegan Hotel (per skye-birds.com).
There was a great northern diver off Meanish Pier, early afternoon (T&E Bishop).
There was a cracking female merlin hunting meadow pipits along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 8am.
There was a late redwing in full song this afternoon on croft 2 Lephin.
The first minke whale of the year was seen off the Lower Milovaig grazings (Rachel Atherton).
There were still two late redwings at Lephin this morning.
There was a single redwing at Neist Point (Rachel Atherton).
A very cold night in Glendale with temperatures down to around 2.5°C and there was snow on the Cuillins, Trotternish Ridge and Storr in the morning.
A male grasshopper warbler was back and reeling briefly at Lephin at 7:50am.
The first returning pair of redpolls were back at Lephin at 7:50am.
There were two white wagtails at the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, late morning.
First report of a cuckoo in Glendale today from Ferinquarrie (Sue & Mike Mansell).
The temperature plunged to +3.5°C before dawn and the Western Isles were white with snow this morning, although the closest Glendale got to wintery showers was a few hail storms.
The first two common sandpipers were back at Lower Milovaig.
A steady stream of meadow pipits was coming in off the sea at Lower Milovaig this morning from dawn until 10:30am, and travelling south along the bottom road, at around 50-60 birds per hour, in groups of 4 to 8 indivduals. A group of 8 was watched actually coming in off the sea, possibly from North Uist or Harris. There were also 200-300 mipits on the ground around the Milovaig loop, again in small groups of 4 to 20.
The first willow warblers were back in Glendale today, with two singing males at Lephin and another in MacDougal's Spruces, near Meanish Pier. There are still small numbers of redwings around with individual males in full song at Lephin and Milovaig. There was a singing male wheatear back on croft 2 Lephin today and most territories around Milovaig now have singing males.
Another swallow was back catching sand flies over the shoreline near Meanish Pier at 1pm.
Winter thrushes are still moving through, with a flock of six fieldfares and around a dozen redwings singing en masse at 3 Lephin at 7:45am.
The first two swallows of the year were in their garden at Ferinquarrie (Mike & Sue Mansell).
The first returning twite of the spring was on the top road in Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a male blackcap in their garden at Ferinquarrie (Mike & Sue Mansell).
The first returning siskins of the spring, a pair, were back at 2 Lower Milovaig today.
Migrants are flooding in now. There are at least 7 wheatears in Lower Milovaig and at least 9 in Upper Milovaig. There are small flocks of redwings, meadow pipits and pied wagtails all over Milovaig, Hamaraverin and Lephin and increased numbers of blackbirds.
There was a female merlin at An Acarsaid, Upper Milovaig in the afternoon (Gordon McCracken).
The first primroses were in bloom beside the road on the slope down to Meanish Pier, which is almost four weeks later than last year.
The first white-tailed bumble-bees were on the wing in Milovaig today, taking nectar from flowering currants.
It was snowing in Glendale from sunrise onwards, big, fluffy flakes but only settling down to around 150m amsl.
The birds are on the move now that the weather has turned:
There are six male wheatears in Upper Milovaig, with four outside the Lighthouse Keeper's cottage (including one singing male) and two dotted along the bottom road.
Decent numbers of redwings came in at Lower Milovaig overnight, with flocks of 20+ around Kathy's on the top road, 12+ in the spruces at 2 Lower Milovaig and other penny numbers in gardens. Redwings are singing en masse in the trees and also individuals are in full song in the gardens.
Groups of meadow pipits are also starting to come in, with a flock of 14 yesterday evening on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig and other groups of up to 8 around the Milovaig loop today. There was a flock of 30 on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 6pm.
A faint aurora was picking up on camera just after midnight.
There was a male wheatear below the bottom road on croft 2 Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a tawny owl perching openly on a deer stob beside the road at Hamara Lodge at 7:15am that flew off into the walled garden there.
There was a single whooper swan, five goosanders and a pair of red-throated divers on Loch Mor, Waterstein at 6:30pm.
The first returning goldcrest of the spring was in MacDougal's Spruces at Lower Milovaig at 7pm.
There was a report of a male wheatear in Upper Milovaig (per skye-birds.com).
The comet 'Pan Starrs' was visible to the naked eye from around 10:15pm onwards. The tail is very large, around the size of the moon and the Andromeda Galaxy is also visible, sitting inside the tail of the comet.
More signs of spring passage, with a group of eight whooper swans heading North over Dunvegan at 8am.
A rare annual visitor to Milovaig this morning was a woodpigeon, seen at 7am. There was a white-tailed eagle circling over the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at mid-day. There was a pair of redwings back at 2 Lower Milovaig, late afternoon, which is a sure sign that return passage is underway.
After several unsuccessful attempts, the comet Pan Starrs was eventually photographed last night in Lower Milovaig. The comet is at one o'clock to the third telegraph pole in front of the house.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle patrolling the cliff tops along Scorr Farm, late morning. There were a pair of eiders between the white beach and skerries at Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle circling over the top road in Upper Milovaig, late morning.
Crazy temperatures in Glendale last night, after several days with overnight frost it plummeted to -6.3°C in the small hours of this morning.
The first returning linnet of the spring was back at Lower Milovaig, late afternoon.
Glendale experienced an aurora borealis, which was very variable in intensity from barely visible to the eye, to pale green to the eye, under crystal clear skies from 9pm onwards but peaking at around 11:20pm.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew over Loch Mor, Waterstein, late afternoon (Brian Smith).
Glendale experienced a beautiful, bright aurora borealis, which was visible through broken cloud from 8pm until around 11:30pm.
The buzzards are all back in their nesting territories and there were seven in the air simultaneously at Lephin at mid-day.
A gannet was back in Loch Pooltiel for the first time this spring, late afternoon.
There was a woodcock walking around in the trees at the entrance to the Community Hall, early afternoon, that took off onto croft 2 Lephin when disturbed.
The lesser celandines have all come into bloom this weekend at Glasphein and Ferinquarrie.
The first small tortoiseshell butterfly of the spring was on the wing at Ferinquarrie, early afternoon.
There was a singing male reed bunting in the garden at Lephin Cottage at around 7:15am.
There was a pair of lapwings displaying at Glasphein, mid morning.
The pied wagtails are back today, with singles at Fasach, Ferinquarrie, Pollosgan and Lephin.
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle circling above the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at around 3:30pm.
A stoat in three-quarters ermine was on the black beach road, late morning.
A white-tailed eagle flew over Lephin, Hamara Lodge, Pollosgan, Loch Pooltiel and across to Scorr Farm at 2pm.
The first two lesser black-backed gulls were back on the Estate parks between Lephin Church and Hamara Lodge at 7:00am.
Glendale escaped the snow, with just a thin covering on MacLeod's Tables. Borve and Portree were white with snow and there was a covering over the Trotternish Ridge and heavy falls on the Cuillins and the mountains of Western Isles.
There was an adult pair of white-tailed eagles soaring over MacLeod's Tables (Marco Antonio Tim).
Glendale experienced a weak aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 11pm and just discernable to the naked eye on a superb clear night.
There was a late frost in Glendale this morning, with temperatures just above zero and snow on the mountain tops out on the western isles. The day remained bitterly cold and there was even a brief snow shower at around 4pm for a few minutes.
More skylarks are returning. There was a single on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig and a small flock of 7 on the top road in Lower Milovaig, late morning.
A pair of lapwings were performing their display flight for the first time this spring at Hamaraverin, late morning.
The first pipistrelle bat was out of hibernation and on the wing at 2 Lower Milovaig at dusk.
Our pair of white-tailed eagles were seen again at Neist Point at around 8:30am (Marco Antonio Tim).
Our resident pair of white-tailed eagles flew over croft 5 Waterstein about 20 feet above the ground at around 4:30pm, giving spectacular close views (Brian Smith).
There was a woodcock in the garden at 1 Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There is still a woodcock on croft 2 Lephin, which can be seen circling at dusk every evening.
Glendale experienced a bright aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 11pm until 11:10pm and glowing white to the naked eye. We were hampered by very heavy cloud and peering at the aurora through tiny gaps.
A juvenile white-tailed eagle flew over Neist Point, late morning, heading towards Oisgill. A single gannet flew North past Neist Point, mid-morning.
There were 15 shags on occupied nests, and bringing in nest materials, but only a single fulmar back on the nesting ledges, which is extremely late, given that we have seen the fulmars back, in full, as early as the last week in December in the past.
There were six goldeneyes on Loch Mor at mid-day.
An adult white-tailed eagle skimmed along the cliff-top over crofts 1, 2 and 3 Lephin heading towards Holmisdale at around 2:30pm.
At around 5:15pm, a juvenile white-tailed eagle came in low off the sea at Meanish Pier, then circled above the pier for around five minutes, gaining height, before heading across to Scoval and over towards Husabost.
The twites are back! There was a pair at Meanish Pier at 8:30am.
There was a golden eagle soaring high over Ferinquarrie at 11:40am.
There was a pair of bullfinches in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at 7:40am. This is the first time that we have ever recorded bullfinches in Milovaig, so a very rare event indeed.
Our resident pair of white-tailed eagles were circling at roof-top height above the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, below Clach Ghlas, at around 6pm, before heading off towards the common grazings (Alison Stables).
The skylarks were in full song today at Waterstein (Brian Smith).
The first skylarks are back today! There were at least two pairs back on territories on croft 2 Lephin being very aerially active and vocal, although not singing yet. Then in the afternoon there was another skylark below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
Glendale experienced a faint aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 7:50pm onwards and just discernable to the naked eye from 8:40pm onwards. The show was over by 10pm.
A white-tailed eagle was viewed from the Ramasaig road (John & Daniela McCafferty).
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle flying low along the B884 by the water treatment plant between Dunvegan and Uiginish at around 8:10am.
Interesting weather in Glendale throughout the day with showers of hail, sleet and snow propelled by winds gusting to 79 mph. Ouch!
There was a male and two female goosanders at Meanish Pier, early afternoon.
There was a woodcock circling over croft 2 Lephin at dusk.
There was a small family pod of three harbour porpoises off the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, mid-afternoon.
There were two, possibly three, dippers on the Hamara River by the Black Beach at 11:15am and a pair of goosanders on Loch Pooltiel there at the same time.
The mild winter has allowed the meadow pipits to return earlier than normal. There was a group of five meadow pipits above the road at Glasphein, late morning, and there were two on croft 2 Lephin yesterday.
There were three red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel in the afternoon. The black guillemots have returned in good numbers now on Loch Pooltiel and have all moulted into their summer plumage this week.
There was a red deer grazing openly beside Helen & Paul Curtis's caravan at Ferinquarrie at around 11am.
Continuing the owl theme, there was a tawny owl in the trees behind Hamara Lodge at 7pm.
There was a beautiful barn owl sitting on a fence post beside the road behind Hamara Lodge at 7:15pm and there was a pair of them in the same place at 8:30pm (Anna Cleland).
Glendale was battered by a storm with winds gusting up to 100 mph at Lower Milovaig between 7pm and 8pm and reaching a peak of 102 mph at 9pm.
The snowdrops have come into bloom in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, which is 17 days later than last year.
Glendale experienced a faint aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 9pm onwards and just visible to the naked eye for a short period around 11:10pm.
There was a male and two female goldeneyes at Glendale Watermill at 9am (Clare Gray).
There was a beautiful merlin hunting along the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, heading towards Borrodale, at around 4pm.
There was a flock of c.30 turnstones at Lorgill Bay (per skye-birds.com).
Glendale experienced a faint aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 8pm onwards and only just visible to the naked eye.
There was a stonechat on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 11am.
Glendale experienced one of the best auroras of the last decade this evening, with colours vivid to the naked eye. The show began at dusk and peaked at around 6:35pm. The activity had faded significantly by 7pm and just a trace was being picked up on camera by 10pm.
Glendale escaped the snow this morning, just a covering on the top of MacLeod's Tables. Outside of Glendale there was snow on all the hill tops and the North-East side of the island was white, with 1 to 2cm around Borve and Portree.
There was a fairly bright aurora visible in the skies over Glendale from 8:40pm until around 9:30pm, as ever we were hampered by cloud to the North. Small columns could just be seen with the eye over Dunvegan Head. The colours were predominantly green and orange.
The woodcock is still at Lephin and was circling over croft 1 Lephin at dusk.
A woodcock was flushed on croft 2 Lephin at dusk.
An extremely weak aurora borealis was just glimpsed beneath the cloud at 11:35pm. The aurora was caused by a slightly elevated solar wind from a Coronal Hole High Speed Stream.
There were five goosanders (a male and four females) off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 10:30am.
The male hen harrier is still hunting around Milovaig and was seen flying over the garden at 16 Upper Milovaig, in the direction of Pollosgan, at around 3:30pm.
Our resident adult white-tailed eagle actually landed on the shoreline of the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 9:45am and stayed there for 10 minutes, being harassed by the occasional gull, before heading around the shoreline towards Pollosgan. The composite photo, which shows our bird in context, enlarged and as it flew off, was taken from the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
A cracking male hen harrier was flushed from the road-side on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 3:30pm, which made off towards the pier.
There were five lapwings back on the breeding grounds at Borrodale School (Clare Gray), which is extremely early.
There were a pair of red-breasted mergansers on Loch Dunvegan at Skinidin at mid-day.
A white-tailed eagle flew south-west over Dunvegan Woods at 11:30am.
Skyeweather.co.uk is reporting that North Skye had 29% less rainfall than normal in 2012, just 1000mm compared to an average of 1400mm. For more details, check out their new Facebook page at : http://www.facebook.com/isleofskyeweather.
Our sub-adult white-tailed eagle was circling low over Loch Pooltiel, off Meanish Pier, at 1:45pm before heading onto Dunvegan Head. More black guillemots are returning now, with three winter plumage birds back on Loch Pooltiel in the afternoon.
There were 9 curlews, 3 redshank, 1 little grebe, 7 goldeneye, 5 goosanders and a flock of 40 redwings at Loch Mor, Waterstein, in the morning.
There were 4 red deer stags and a hind grazing openly beside the B884 close to croft 14 Upper Milovaig at 9am.
A white-tailed eagle skimmed at almost ground level along the cliff at the top of crofts 3, 2 and 1 Lephin at 9am. It almost landed on croft 2 before continuing towards Hamaraverin.
There was a beautiful male stonechat on the top road in Lower Milovaig, early afternoon. There was a white-tailed eagle patrolling the cliffs on the Lower Milovaig Grazings at 1:30pm and later seen out over the sea across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, before heading onto Dunvegan Head at 2:15pm.
Eighteen grey seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel this afternoon was the highest count for some time.
A very happy New Year to all the regular readers of this blog and a warm welcome to new visitors!