These were the wildlife highlights in Glendale, Isle of Skye, in the first 2 quarters of 2007.
If you saw something interesting/unusual in Glendale this year then please do email in.
There were two winter-plumaged black guillemots on Loch Pooltiel today, the first in almost three months.
There was a stoat hunting in the front garden at 2 Lower Milovaig late afternoon. It even climbed on top of the wheely bin at one stage.
There was a single otter fishing the shoreline on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 12:45pm.
There are still two golden eagles in the Waterstein Head/Loch Mor area that were giving incredible views this afternoon. Also, on Loch Mor today were 4 goosander, 1 tufted duck, 4 goldeneye and 2 mallard.
There was an otter fishing off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel, from 1:30pm until at least 2:30pm, giving good views from the roadside at Lower Milovaig.
There was a single red-throated diver close to Meanish Pier at the same time, again giving very good views, as it was well illuminated by the afternoon sunshine. A woodcock was circling around gardens at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig at dusk.
There has been a single woodcock on the wing at dawn in the bealach between Fasach and Skye Silver on most days this week.
There was a single fieldfare at Oisgill Bay, our first record this winter. Also at Oisgill Bay was a male stonechat. At nearby Loch Mor there were 5 lapwings, 6 curlew, 2 goosander and a goldeneye. Beside the Neist Point car park, there was a flock of 14 golden plovers.
I have heard a report that the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) were visible from the Dunvegan area during the night (10th/11th). Time to keep an eye outside on these cold, clear nights!
There was a female red deer on the bealach between Fasach and Colbost at 2am. There were a pair of red-throated divers off Meanish Pier late afternoon. A single golden eagle was still present around the crags at Loch Mor, Waterstein, late afternoon. There are still two goldfinches frequenting gardens/bird-feeders on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
There were two goldfinches using bird feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig at dawn. These are quite rare visitors to Milovaig. A peregrine falcon stooped on a flock of pigeons over the white beach in Lower Milovaig at 9:30am but, alas, missed its quarry.
A pair of golden eagles were giving spectacular views soaring/perching around the crags behind Loch Mor at Waterstein at lunchtime. Other highlights at Loch Mor today were: a little grebe, a pair of goosander, 8 goldeneye, 1 whimbrel, 11 curlews, 3 redshank and a lovely male stonechat.
There were two brown hares in the garden of the 'croft house', 8 Lower Milovaig, late afternoon and six grey seals in Loch Pooltiel, the highest count for some time. There were also four curlews below the top road in Lower Milovaig, late afternoon.
Glendale was white with frost this morning and the car windscreen had to be scraped for the first time this Winter.
There was a gorgeous Barn Owl perched on a fence post beside the B884 at Colbost at 5:40pm.
Sadly the fox got amongst Fred & Betty's hens at the Carters' Rest overnight and killed several of their birds. It was last seen wandering, bold as brass, along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 9am, heading in the direction of the pier.
There are still many fungi around in Milovaig, with large numbers of False Chanterelles fruiting amongst the spruces.
There is currently a red fox hunting in daylight in Milovaig, which was first seen last week near the pier (NPaterson) and seen again below the bottom road in Upper Milovaig this morning (CGray). Unfortunately, this is bad news for those of us that keep free-to-roam hens in Milovaig, as we had one of our chickens taken early afternoon on Wednesday.
There was a single whimbrel on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 11am.
There was a good dusting of snow on the Cuillins and the hills around Portree today. The first of the season.
Highlights of a BTO Winter Atlas Survey visit to Neist Point included: single ringtail hen harrier, two separate flocks of Golden Plover (numbering 9 and 13 respectively), 6 puffins, 17 guillemots, 5 razorbills, a single black guillemot, six eider, a thousand kittiwakes.
There were 6 goldeneye and 2 mallard on Loch Mor at Waterstein (no sign of the black swan that spent the summer here). There was also a male stonechat at Waterstein.
At around 3pm, an adult white-tailed eagle flew from the head of Loch Pooltiel, across to Lower Milovaig and then around the coast past the pier. Shortly afterwards a single Golden Eagle flew over Milovaig in the direction of Ferinquarrie. There was also an influx of kestrels into Milovaig today with 6 being around the 'Milovaig loop' late afternoon and another pair at Waterstein.
There is still a single woodcock frequenting the garden at 1 Lower Milovaig.
There was a pair of stonechats beside the Hamara Lodge/Watermill Road mid-afternoon.
A good day for raptors today in Glendale: There was a single golden eagle soaring on the hill behind 6 Fasach at dawn and there was a beautiful male hen harrier hunting beside the B884 at Fasach at 10:15am.
There was a single woodcock in the garden of 1 Lower Milovaig in the morning. Our first of the season.
There was a significant influx of smaller birds into Milovaig today with many small flocks moving through including: 100+ redwing above the top road (with several smaller flocks of 10-20 birds also around), 20 meadow pipits, 12 chaffinches and 7 siskins. There were also a lot of song thrushes around (perhaps 20-30) feeding on the crofts with the redwings and almost certainly migrants. There was a very late chiffchaff in trees near Meanish Pier, two late winter-plumaged common guillemots off Meanish Pier and a late gannet on the seaward side of Lower Milovaig.
There were a lot of fungi around Milovaig today, with hundreds of yellow waxcaps and red waxcaps fruiting.
A flock of c.30 redwings was on Crofts 2 & 4 Lower Milovaig (above the bottom road) all day.
There was still a single pipistrelle bat on the wing at dusk, which is getting very late for them to be out of hibernation.
At 11am a flock of c.30 siskins flew in from the North and alighted briefly in trees at 2 Lower Milovaig before continuing on Southward. These were possibly part of an irruption that occurred into the Western Isles at the end of last week, which was widely reported in the National Press.
There was an otter fishing off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at 3pm, giving good views from Lower Milovaig. It brought a fish onto the rocks to eat.
There was a very interesting report of a redstart, or possibly a female black redstart, in a garden at Glasphein, which had come in on the recent storms [from Richard Lockett, a holidaymaker, kindly passed on by Bob of skye-birds.com].
There were two pipistrelle bats flying amongst trees at 2 Lower Milovaig at dusk.
The first redwings of the season arrived in Glendale overnight, with three in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at dawn.
There was a male stonechat on the top road in Lower Milovaig this afternoon.
There was a significant migration of geese this morning, with several skeins of between 40 and 80 birds flying South over Milovaig.
There were two red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel at 5pm.
The trees have suddenly turned golden in Glendale and many are already losing their leaves.
There was a sub-adult white-tailed eagle at Lower Milovaig soaring over croft 2 (below the bottom road) just after mid-day.
At the same time, a second sea eagle could be seen soaring over Upper Milovaig, together with two golden eagles and two buzzards.
The Lower Milovaig bird drifted across Loch Pooltiel to Scorr Farm , where it spent about an hour eating a sheep carcass and perched on rocks. Through the 'scope it could be seen to have red wing tags, which makes it a bird born in 2005.
These two photographs were taken from our garden. What incredible garden birds we have in Glendale!
There was also a flock of 30 greylag geese feeding on crofts 11/12 Upper Milovaig late afternoon.
There was a wide-spread ground frost in Glendale this morning. The first of the year.
There was a flock of 30 twite above the top road in Lower Milovaig late afternoon.
There was a female merlin chasing meadow pipits below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a new-born grey seal pup on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel late afternoon. Mother and baby are doing fine! A skein of 60 (probably greylag) geese flew South over Lower Milovaig at 5pm. We counted at least 28 pied wagtails flying in to roost at Meanish Pier this evening. No sign of our whimbrel this evening.
The weather has changed dramatically. Winter is just around the corner and I recorded a minimum over-night temperature of +2° in our polytunnel one night during the week.
Bob of skye-birds.com reports that 5 or 6 minke whales were off Neist Point this morning and that the Black Swan is still on Loch Mor.
There is still a single whimbrel frequenting Lower Milovaig, in the area between the White Beach and the sea-ward shore beyond the pier, which has now been resident for a month. There was a male stonechat on the sea-ward side of Lower Milovaig late afternoon. We have no wheatears now, although there are still plenty of swallows around.
There was still a whimbrel on the white beach at Lower Milovaig today, together with a flock of 10 curlews. There were two juvenile stonechats on the sea-ward side of Lower Milovaig late afternoon, proof of successful breeding, yet again, in this area. There were six puffins off Meanish Pier late afternoon. We still have two wheatears and a few swallows around but the vast majority appear to have moved on.
There was a single whimbrel on the white beach at Lower Milovaig late afternoon. A goldcrest was in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig mid-day.
A flock of 20 greylag geese came in off the sea and grazed briefly on the Yellow Hill at Lower Milovaig before continuing South. There was a flock of 10 curlews on the White Beach at Lower Milovaig most of the weekend.
There has been a whimbrel frequenting Lower Milovaig, along the bottom road and pier area since Wednesday. It was giving very close views on the sea-shore just around the corner, past Meanish Pier late afternoon today. The flock of twite along the top road through Milovaig is continuing to grow in size, with 100+ present this afternoon.
There was an otter on the White Beach at Lower Milovaig, late afternoon.
There was a bonxie (great skua) harassing gulls on the sea-ward side of Lower Milovaig, just around the corner from the Pier, at 5pm.
An otter was fishing in the sea a hundred yards off Meanish Pier at 10pm.It swam ashore at the rock pools on the sea-ward side of Lower Milovaig and began to fish them.
Thanks to Laura at the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust for confirming that the pale-sided cetaceans that I photographed at Neist on July 23rd, and believed to be bottlenose dolphins, were in fact Minke Whales, possibly youngsters. This would explain their different surfacing/dive behaviour and distinctly different colouration.
There was a a flock of at least 60 twite on Croft 4 Lower Milovaig (bottom road) at 6pm. They were quite difficult to count as they were feeding on the ground but large groups of them occasionally flew up to telegraph wires and fences, sixty being the most birds that I counted in the air simultaneously.
There has also been a coal tit using our bird feeders at Lower Milovaig for the last week, which is fairly unusual, as they do not breed locally and only visit us on passage. A good sign that birds are on the move again.
The place to be this afternoon was Neist Point, which had both a pod of adult and young Minke Whales. All were mostly out into Minch but did at times come within 10 yards of the rocks on the lighthouse-side of Neist. They stayed for over four hours. One of the minke whales actually lifted its head out of the water, at one stage, which was most impressive.
Also, off Neist were two bonxies, four arctic skuas, eight manx shearwaters and a total of 15 puffins. Of around 40 pairs of kittiwakes nesting on the cliffs, over half had juveniles in the nest, with most nests having two young.
The 'Australian' black swan is still on Loch Mor at Waterstein, as were two males and a female tufted duck. A flock of 14 ravens flew NW over Lower Milovaig at lunchtime.
There was a flock of 40 twite above the top road in Lower Milovaig late afternoon.
After choosing a new nest site, for the first time in five years, the resident pair of buzzards in Upper Milovaig have successfully fledged two young. Adults and young were being very noisy near the nest site late evening. The adults have been extremely active over the last few weeks hunting around Milovaig and over Yellow Hill.
There were unprecedented flocks of seabirds surface-feeding on Loch Pooltiel between 9pm and 10pm, with around 1000 mostly immature kittiwakes and around 600 mixed auks (razorbills and common guillemots). They were no doubt attracted by one of the large shoals of fish that are in the area. The birds took off, virtually en masse, and flew out into the Minch.
There was a Minke whale again at Neist Point this evening (IB, FC).
A basking shark was seen off Neist Point (IB).
An incredible spectacle this evening was an otter that came steaming past Meanish Pier, from the sea, into Loch Pooltiel, at 11pm carrying a common guillemot. It brought the bird onto the rocks beside the pier road, ripped its belly open and then proceed to crunch its way noisily through the carcass. We watched it until around 11:30pm before we left it to finish its meal. The common guillemots haven't been coming very close to shore yet, so the otter must have swum out a considerable distance to catch one.
The orchids are now in full bloom, with good numbers of heath spotted orchid and fragrant orchid around Lower Milovaig. There was also a red admiral butterfly at Lower Milovaig today.
There were two razorbills off Meanish Pier at around 9:30pm. There are also huge shoals of fish around the pier that are feeding at the surface making the water 'boil' fiercely as they leap out of the water and splash around catching flies. There was a single painted lady butterfly in the garden this evening. Quite unusual in these parts.
A beautiful stoat was catching short-tailed voles in our garden and carrying them back to its den to feed its young. The first heath spotted orchids are now in bloom in Lower Milovaig. There has been nothing unusual to report for a fortnight, as this is peak breeding season and most creatures are very busy tending their young. The weather has been awesome and it is light all night now.
There was a bonxie (Great Skua) harassing gulls in Loch Pooltiel today, giving good views from Lower Milovaig.
There was an otter fishing far out into Loch Pooltiel at 8:30pm. It was roughly half way between the White Beach at Lower Milovaig and the opposite bank. It never ceases to amaze us how far the otters will swim out into the water in search of food.
The highlight this afternoon was a superb whimbrel, which was feeding in the rock pools that are just around the corner from Meanish Pier on the seaward-side of Lower Milovaig. It allowed us to watch it from within 10 yards, as it probed amongst the crevices in the rocks.
Milovaig is inundated with cuckoos at the moment and, due to the lack of trees, they sing quite openly from fence posts and telegraph wires. We had three together in our garden in the evening, which we assume were two singing males in pursuit of a female.
An otter was fishing off the White Beach at Lower Milovaig at around 6:40am and bringing fish back onto the shore to eat.
There was an otter fishing off the White Beach at Lower Milovaig at 7:30am.
The midges are starting to emerge, with the first one biting at Lower Milovaig this morning. Don't forget to pack the SkinSoSoft, as I hear that they are already getting quite bad in other parts of the island!
There was a fantastic golden eagle soaring on the thermals over Dunvegan Head between 4:30pm and 5pm, giving good views from Meanish Pier. There were two white wagtails on croft 5 Lower Milovaig (below the bottom road). The weather has been stunning again for the last few days and the first baby birds are in the nest. We have robins nesting beside our polytunnel, wrens nesting behind a fern leaf outside our byre, starlings in our chimney, hooded crows in the spruces behind our house. All of them scurrying back and forth with grubs to feed their young. The carnivorous plants are re-appearing in Milovaig this weekend, with butterworts in flower and round-leaved sundews busily catching the early insects. The first green-veined white butterflies are on the wing this weekend. The woodlands around Dunvegan Castle have spectacular displays of bluebells and parts of Milovaig have good, early displays too.
Taking us all by surprise, the otters switched to fishing the morning tide with one busy off the White Beach at 6:45am. There were none fishing on the evening tide, although there were a couple of grey seals basking on the skerries at 7pm and a pair of red-breasted merganser off the pier.
There was an otter fishing around the skerries in Loch Pooltiel from 6pm onwards. It also spent quite a bit of time exploring the rock pools on the big skerry, giving excellent views from the roadside at Lower Milovaig.
There was an otter fishing off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at around 6pm. It caught a sea urchin, which it ate on the rocks. There were also four grey seals basking on the skerries at the same time.
We still have at least two pairs of linnets visiting our bird feeders at Lower Milovaig throughout each day.
There was a party of 7 white wagtails on croft 2 Lower Milovaig at 6pm and 3 at Meanish Pier just before dusk. A female red-breasted merganser flew past Meanish Pier and out into the Minch at around 8:30pm. There were two common guillemots off the Pier late evening.
There was a single curlew at Meanish Pier. It is surprisingly quiet at the moment, in spite of the perfect run of good weather over the last few days. The first self-heal was in flower today and bluebells are becoming more widespread around Milovaig.
There was a single pipistrelle bat flying around gardens at 1/2 Lower Milovaig just before dusk (9:45pm), the first of the season.
There were two white wagtails at Meanish Pier at lunchtime (AlS), with a single still there late evening. We also had our first cuckoo singing across Loch Pooltiel from Dunvegan Head, late evening.
On April 19th, Ellis & Wouter Hoek from the Netherlands saw a small pod of minke whales off Neist
Point. They surfaced around a hundred times and often dived for between 10
and 20 minutes. They came within 50-100m off-shore.
This is one of the photos that he took.
There was a pod of five common dolphins outside the Three Chimneys Restaurant at Colbost at 6pm (AlS). There are still up to five linnets at a time using bird feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig daily.
More of our summering species are returning to Glendale, with two siskins, two redpolls and a goldcrest arriving in Lower Milovaig today. We also heard the first cuckoo in the 'Glen'.
There was a goldfinch using our bird feeders at Lower Milovaig in the morning (the first sighting this year) and four linnets on the feeders most of the day. A pair of red-breasted mergansers were off the white beach at Lower Milovaig and a male goosander off the pier at Meanish late evening.
A cuckoo was singing at Colbost (AlS).
The improving weather has brought our first swallows to Milovaig this evening, with one at the pier and another on the top road in Upper Milovaig. We also have our common sandpipers back for the summer, with a very noisy pair at the pier. There was a single grey seal basking on the inner skerries in Loch Pooltiel, late evening and a single curlew flew over Meanish Pier at around 7pm and out into the Minch. There were a total of three singing male willow warblers around the Milovaig Loop this evening and four pairs of twite. There were a pair of grey wagtails on the burn, below the bottom road, in Upper Milovaig at around 8pm.
Just outside our 'patch' but there were two house martins and a swallow by the camp-site at Dunvegan at around 5:30pm.
Glendale was buried under cloud all weekend, so there wasn't much wildlife to be seen through the fog. However, we have had five linnets using our bird feeders all weekend. There were 3 grey seals basking on the skerries mid-afternoon.
We've eventually had our first willow warbler of the year, which was singing in our garden at 2 Lower Milovaig this evening. The first bluebells have opened in a sheltered spot at Lower Milovaig.
There was a single swallow at Colbost at 5:40pm. My first of the year, although one was first reported there on the 13th (VH, Skye-Birds.com).
There was a stunning male merlin perching on fence posts along the bottom road in
Lower Milovaig at around 8pm, giving remarkable views. The agility of these diminutive raptors is incredible. They
corner like they are on rails!
The weather is turning very cold again and we still haven't had our first swallows, chiffchaffs or willow warblers yet. They are already two days later than last year.
The last pair of redwings were still in Lower Milovaig this evening but have not been seen since. The dog violets are now in bloom.
There are a pair of eiders off the white beach at Lower Milovaig all weekend. Two or three gannets have been diving in Loch Pooltiel and off Meanish Pier most days this week. There are still one pair of redwings at Lower Milovaig. They have become very tame, approaching to within 3 feet whilst we are digging in the garden. At 8:30pm, there were a stunning pair of black-throated divers in full, summer plumage fishing, close in-shore, around the skerries in Loch Pooltiel, giving superb views. There were also a pair of red-breasted merganser off the white beach at Lower Milovaig. A flock of 10 linnets was using our bird feeders early morning.
There was a good flock of 80 meadow pipits below the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at around 7:30am. There were around a dozen redwings singing in trees at 2 Lower Milovaig and feeding in gardens and roadside verges. A merlin is still hunting around Lower Milovaig daily.
We still have around a dozen redwings singing in trees at 2 Lower Milovaig. There are quite a few early spring lambs around the glen that have been born this week, with four at Hamara and another in Borrodale.
There was a redwing in full song in our garden at Lower Milovaig at 7am and there have been around 12 giving sub-song in trees there all day. An otter was beside the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 2:30pm and made its way down croft 4 to the White Beach, where it went into the water and fished along the shoreline. There were two grey seals in Loch Pooltiel most of the afternoon. A merlin was hunting through gardens at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig late afternoon. Gannets are now starting to come into Loch Pooltiel, with 3 there late afternoon and one was seen diving for the first time this year. There was a good flock of 31 meadow pipits below the bottom road in Upper Milovaig and a flock of six twite on the top road in Upper Milovaig. Sun spurges have come into bloom this weekend beside the burns in Milovaig.
There were still around a dozen redwings in the spruces at 2 Lower Milovaig today and some of the birds were singing 'solo' which made it possible to hear the song clearly. The song was a scratchy warble, reminicent of a sedge warbler, but with a few 'song thrush'-style notes in the intro. The noise when 50 or more birds were singing at the same time on Friday was amazing. There was a grey wagtail in our garden at Lower Milovaig at lunchtime.
The noise from the redwings continued until around lunchtime, after which the group seemed to be dispersing. A skein of 150 greylag geese flew North over Loch Pooltiel at lunch time. There was a single black-throated diver off Meanish Pier late afternoon. The black swan was still on Loch Mor at Waterstein. There were twite visiting bird feeders on the top road in Lower Milovaig. There were five grey seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at low tide, the first group we've had for a while.
There was a group of between 50 and 70 redwings in spruces on croft 2 Lower Milovaig that were making a very loud, starling-like chattering song. Like the sound of a thousand starlings all singing at once. It was like the 'dawn chorus', except that it continued all day. Although, the sound did stop suddenly on two occasions when a superb merlin passed through them, no doubt attracted by the noise. The redwings were very active throughout the day feeding on the lawns and hedges in our garden.
The black swan was still on Loch Mor this evening and is a very fine specimen indeed! Also on Loch Mor: a group of 6 lesser black-backed gulls, clearly summer returnees, 8 goldeneye, a pair of goosander on what appeared to be a nest and a pair of mallard. A flock of 40 greylag geese flew North over Waterstein at around 6pm.
Unusually, a newly-arrived flock of 25 redwings was feeding on the top road in Lower Milovaig late evening. There was a single gannet off Meanish Pier late evening. There was a singing male wheatear in our garden at Lower Milovaig at 5:45pm. The fantastic weather on Skye over the last fortnight has brought Spring early and a robin has been building a nest in our byre since Sunday. The chaffinches have also started nest-building today.
Bob at Skye-Birds.com has passed on a report from Robert Lathbury of a single black swan that turned up on Loch Mor at Waterstein on the 2nd and still present on the 3rd.
A single gannet did a full circuit of Loch Pooltiel before flying back out into the Minch at around 8pm. This was the first confirmed sighting of the Spring. There have also been a pair of grey wagtails on the burn through Upper Milovaig all weekend.
More wheatears are arriving: there was a male in full song on the top road in Lower Milovaig and a pair on the top road in Upper Milovaig. Meadow pipits were in full song in Milovaig today for the first time this year. There are still two pairs of redwings in gardens of 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig. Very few seals in Loch Pooltiel at the moment, we have only seen the odd one over the last week or so. The curlews have also moved on. We heard twite in Lower Milovaig today for the first time this year.
The first wheatear arrived in Lower Milovaig this evening, with a handsome male just past the Pier. Our very striking, 2nd winter Iceland Gull returned this evening and was roosting on the Skerries in the Loch at Lower Milovaig from 6pm until around 7:45pm. There was a pair of red-breasted merganser fishing off the White Beach at Lower Milovaig. A merlin was hunting over Croft 10 Upper Milovaig. We have also had reports of twite returning to Upper Milovaig (J&J).
A very warm, still and sunny day in Glendale: t-shirt weather. There were skylarks in full song in Milovaig, Waterstein and Neist all day. There were a pair of meadow pipits holding territory and in full 'parachuting' song flight at Neist Point. There was a flock of 20 meadow pipits at Neist. A pair of goldeneye on Loch Mhor at Waterstein. A flock of six skylarks in Milovaig. Two pairs of eider duck in Moonen Bay. No auks in-shore at Neist today but plenty of common guillemots and a handful of razorbills well out into the Minch. Several Bumble Bees in flight in Milovaig today. Single snipe at Neist Point. Four shelducks flew South past Neist Point, late afternoon.
Another fantastic clear, sunny day brought out the first bumble bees of the year. There were a pair of red-breasted merganser off the white beach at Lower Milovaig all day. There are two pairs of redwings on croft 2 Lower Milovaig. They are now pairing up and starting to establish territories. There were a pair of golden eagles over Dunvegan Head, late evening, together with a pair of kestrels.
The start of a stunning weekend weather-wise: there was a single small tortoiseshell butterfly at Lower Milovaig, the first of the year.
After a terrible few days weather-wise, a beautiful warm sunny day brought the first Lesser Celandines into bloom.
There was a stunning, almost pure white, 2nd winter Iceland Gull on the White Beach
at Lower Milovaig from 12:20pm until around 1:30pm when it flew off towards the Pier and we were
subsequently unable to re-locate it.
Also around today: a red-throated diver off Meanish Pier, with a single redshank there, a flock of six skylarks on the top road in Lower Milovaig, a lone meadow pipit on the top road in Upper Milovaig, a merlin hunting over Upper Milovaig (the first this year), four curlews in Upper Milovaig.
An otter caught a crab off the shore in Lower Milovaig at 2pm, which it ate on the rocks, under the watchful eye of a hungry great black-back.
This was a bitterly cold day, with gale force Northerly winds and heavy snow & sleet showers in Glendale until late afternoon.
There were still three redwings feeding in gardens at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig.
The peak wader counts in Milovaig this evening included 3 redshank (the first since Christmas), 18 oystercatchers and 5 curlews. Just two grey seals in Loch Pooltiel today.
There was an otter fishing off the White Beach at Lower Milovaig at 4pm.
There were two independent reports of a single gannet in Loch Pooltiel this morning, the first of the year (AC,AlS). There was a small party of long-tailed tits on Croft 2 Lower Milovaig in the morning. A single red-throated diver flew low past Meanish Pier at 6:30pm and out into the Minch. A very unusual sighting was a woodcock which was flushed from trees at 2 Lower Milovaig by a buzzard at 6:45pm. It flew up onto croft 5 Upper Milovaig before landing again. There was a single common guillemot fishing off Meanish Pier just before dusk.
There was an otter fishing the shoreline between the skerries and the pier at Lower Milovaig from 6pm until dusk. At one point, it crossed the slipway and, later, climbed the steps onto the pier, scampering half way up the ramp before returning to the water. There was a second, very large otter fishing, quite far off shore on the sea-ward side of Meanish Pier at the same time.
The first wild primrose of the Spring was in bloom beside the road to Meanish Pier. There were still three redwings on croft 2 Lower Milovaig.
There was an otter fishing off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel from 6pm until dusk (just before 7pm), which is our first sighting since January and it's a relief to know that they are still on the patch. Also, 16 oystercatchers roosting on the skerries at dusk.
The first daffodils have opened today. Peak count of 5 grey seals in Loch Pooltiel this evening. Seven curlews roosting on the White Beach at Lower Milovaig at dusk.
Today saw the return of the first pied wagtails of the year to Milovaig and there was one at the pier at dusk. Oystercatcher numbers are still building, with 24 roosting on the White Beach at dusk.
A flock of 20 oystercatchers on the white beach at Lower Milovaig was an exceptionally high count.
There's not much wildlife to report this weekend but the total lunar eclipse last night was a 'must see' event. Click here for the photos.
There were 10 oystercatchers (the highest count this year) roosting on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel and 7 curlews roosting on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at dusk.
There were 16 grey seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at dawn. Three
skylarks flew South over Lower Milovaig mid-morning.
At 1pm, a White-Tailed Eagle flew low over 16 Upper Milovaig (roof-top level) and remained soaring around the Yellow Hill until 1:40pm, being mobbed by two golden eagles and two buzzards. It then drifted away towards Ferinquarrie but was seen again soaring over Borrodale between 4pm and 4:15pm, so presumably it remained in the area all afternoon.
There were also five redwings in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig mid-afternoon.
There was a stoat in the garden of 2 Lower Milovaig mid-morning. Sea-bird numbers on Loch Pooltiel are now starting to increase and 14 black guillemots there mid-afternoon was the highest count yet this year. For the first time this year, there were 3 common guillemots on Loch Pooltiel. There was a single redwing on the top road in Lower Milovaig.
There was a party of 4 skylarks in Lower Milovaig today, together with a most unusual mistle thrush. The ribes (flowering currents) have come into flower this week and the pussy willows have opened.
There were 8 curlews in Lower Milovaig at 4:15pm.
A spectacularly fine day today saw the welcome return of two of our summer visitors: there were two skylarks in Lower Milovaig all day and two lesser black-backed gulls on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel all day. Peak count of 5 grey seals basking in the sunshine on the skerries today.
Peak count of 13 grey seals in Loch Pooltiel today. Two pairs of goosander just off the white beach at Lower Milovaig.
A good count of 7 oystercatchers in Lower Milovaig today. Two male and a female goosander were off the white beach at Lower Milovaig all day. The grey wagtail was still in the drain in Upper Milovaig today. There are currently 9 curlews coming to roost on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel each evening. Just 4 grey seals in Loch Pooltiel today.
There was a female red-breasted merganser in Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. Single grey wagtail in the drain beside the top road in Upper Milovaig.
Two days of temperatures below -3 degrees have brought the red deer down from the hills and there was a small herd of six at Skindin at dawn.
One very unseasonal bat at Dunvegan (on the Glendale road, by the very steep hill) at dusk, probably a pipistrelle. There were 5 grey seals on Loch Pooltiel today.
There were 9 Atlantic Grey Seals on the inner skerries in Loch Pooltiel at 2:15pm.
There was a snipe in the garden of 2 Lower Milovaig. Peak count of 14 grey seals in Loch Pooltiel.
Most unusual was a first-winter goldeneye off the White Beach on Loch Pooltiel at Lower Milovaig all afternoon. There was a summer plumage black guillemot on Loch Pooltiel. One snipe on the sea-ward side of Lower Milovaig, beyond Meanish Pier. Flock of around 60 starlings above the top road in Lower Milovaig. A flock of 6 meadow pipits below the top road in Upper Milovaig. 13 jackdaws roosting in Milovaig. 4 grey seals in Loch Pooltiel today. 3 oystercatchers roosting on the White Beach at high tide.
A single otter was fishing off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel late afternoon. The snowdrops have opened this week and are now in full bloom. There were 12 jackdaws using the roost on Croft 2 Lower Milovaig at dusk. Peak count of 4 Atlantic Grey Seals in Loch Pooltiel today. There were 8 curlews on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 4pm.
Two otters were fishing off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel late afternoon.
A porpoise was in Moonen Bay, close inshore at around 1:30pm. Almost 50 pairs of fulmars are back on their nesting ledges at Neist Point. There were small parties of razorbills flying North past Neist Point (total 19 birds seen) and 6 gannets. There were two male eiders and a red-throated diver in Moonen Bay. There were five goldeneye on Loch Mor at Waterstein and a good sized flock of thrushes in Waterstein, which included 24 fieldfares and 21 redwings.
An otter was fishing off Lower Milovaig in Loch Pooltiel at mid-day and being dive-bombed by gulls trying to steal its fish. Two winter plumaged black guillemots were on Loch Pooltiel. There was a peak count of 7 Atlantic Grey Seals in Loch Pooltiel.
An otter crossed the top road in Upper Milovaig near the ruin between Crofts 5 and 8 at 12:25pm, following the burn back towards the shore.
There was a flock of 12 curlews in Lower Milovaig in the morning.
There was a very healthy count of 16 Atlantic Grey Seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at low tide (3:30pm). A small party of 9 curlews was around Milovaig most of the morning.
A stoat, in its summer coat, was hunting in the garden of 2 Lower Milovaig late morning.
A single Redshank on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel mid-afternoon.
Two curlews flew South over Milovaig at 9:30am. At 1:30pm, an Otter ran from the White Beach at Lower Milovaig up the hill, across behind 16 Upper Milovaig and 15 Upper Milovaig before heading directly towards the summit of the Yellow Hill. A single Goldfinch was on croft 2 Lower Milovaig late p.m.
A Lapwing flew South over Milovaig at mid-day.
A single Lesser Black-Backed Gull was at Lower Milovaig.
Two Slavonian Grebes off Meanish Pier giving very close views mid-afternoon. A single Redshank on the Skerries in Loch Pooltiel. The party of three Goosander were off the White Beach in Loch Pooltiel just after sunrise.
One Slavonian Grebe off the Black Beach on Loch Pooltiel. A party of three Goosander (two male, one female) at Glendale Watermill. A single Oystercatcher was at Meanish Pier. One Redwing was at Hamara Lodge. One Snipe was flushed on Croft 2 Lower Milovaig. Two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on Loch Pooltiel near the Pier, with a third on the Black Beach at Glendale. One Otter on the shore of Loch Pooltiel at Lower Milovaig around 1:30pm.
A group of 5 Curlews flew South over Lower Milovaig mid-morning.
A Kestrel was hunting in Upper Milovaig. It remained in the area until the 28th. Three Redwings were present on Croft 1 Lower Milovaig.