These were the wildlife highlights in Glendale, Isle of Skye, in 2010.
If you saw something interesting/unusual in Glendale this year then please do email in.
There were a pair of reed buntings taking spilled seed under the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage at 1:45pm.
Another first for us in Glendale was a pair of tawny owls calling from the trees in Lydia's garden at 2 Lephin at 6:45pm.
There was an adult golden eagle over the bottom road in Fasach, early afternoon.
There was a beautiful female reed bunting at the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage at 1:15pm.
There were a pair of red-breasted mergansers off the white beach at Lower Milovaig mid morning.
Snow gone now. Just a damp, cold, cloudy Boxing Day in Glendale.
There was a single harbour porpoise off the sea-ward end of the Milovaig loop, early afternoon. It is very unusual to get them in winter, so nice to have one on Christmas Day.
There were two red-throated divers at Meanish Pier, early afternoon. There was a woodcock at 2 Lower Milovaig at dusk.
It was a white Christmas due to lingering snow and ice that is slowly melting but there was no fresh snow. It actually rained mid morning.
Merry Christmas to all the regular readers of, and contributors to, this blog!
There was an otter fishing off the white beach at Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
The first returnee black guillemot was off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at mid-day. There was a male red-breasted merganser off the black beach of Loch Pooltiel at around 12:30pm.
Light rain fell on top of the snow at dawn and promptly froze, which left roads around Milovaig in a lethal condition during the morning. Temperatures reached +4.8°c at lunchtime and the thaw started but Glendale was still white at dusk.
Still very snowy and icy in Glendale, with no sign of a thaw. It stayed below zero all day today in Glendale and there were some impressive lows on the commute: -6.5°c at Hamara Lodge, -9.5°c at Dunvegan, -12°c at Skeabost and -10°c at Portree.
There was a woodcock at the postbox by Carters' Rest at 7pm (Alison Stables).
Another 1cm of snow fell in Glendale around dawn but Glendale saw a very slight thaw in the afternoon, with the maximum temperature reaching +3.4°c. In contrast, Portree experienced heavy snow showers throught the day and temperatures down to -6°c at dusk.
There was a single woodcock at Malkie's caravan on the sea-ward end of the Milovaig loop at 10:45am. There was an immature golden eagle hunting low over Beinn Bhuidhe and the common grazings out to Borrodale just before mid-day. An immature white-tailed eagle flew very low along the bottom road through Milovaig and on towards Borrodale, mid afternoon. There is still a skylark on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig and another rarity for winter was a lapwing below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
Another very cold day with the maximum temperature struggling to reach -1.3°c and still 8-10cm of frozen snow lying on the ground.
There was a male blackcap visiting bird feeders at Fasach and the crested tit is still visiting gardens in Fasach (Brigitte at Glendale Salads, per skye-birds.com). A female peregrine flew low over the top road in Lower Milovaig at 1:30pm (Kathy Lindsley). Unusually, there was a single skylark on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, mid afternoon.
There was still 8-10cm of snow laying on the ground in Glendale all day. The temperature had plunged to -5.7°c by 8am, the lowest temperature of the year so far, and remained below zero all day.
It started snowing heavily at lunchtime on Thursday (16th) and it continued throughout today, with blizzards and heavy snow showers. By 5pm there was 8-10cm of snow on the ground with drifts up to 14cm. The temperature barely got above freezing today and the windchill dropped to -13.4°c yesterday.
There was a barn owl hunting along the loch side at Skinidin just before 6pm.
There was a barn owl hunting at the road-side between Borrodale and Upper Milovaig at 6pm.
There were four shelducks at the mouth of the river Hamara (Clare Gray), another very unusual record for Glendale being the 2nd sighting this year.
The bar-tailed godwit was found dead on the sand by the watermill (Clare Gray).
Another first for Glendale was a single bar-tailed godwit on the black beach of Loch Pooltiel (Clare Gray).
There were two white-tailed eagles (an adult and an immature) hanging around Milovaig and Loch Pooltiel all morning. First seen very close to houses along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 9am, then soaring over Beinn Bhuide before spotting a sheep that had gone over the cliff at Scorr Farm and heading off to eat it. Reported again on the top road in Lower Milovaig, mid morning (Kathy Lindsley) and then again over the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, late morning, before heading off over towards Pollosgan.
Unusually, there were two whooper swans (an adult and a cygnet) on Loch Pooltiel, late morning.
There was a woodcock on the croft at Lephin Cottage at dawn.
The big thaw started yesterday afternoon and it was raining this morning, which washed away most of the snow.
There has been a very confiding otter working around Loch Pooltiel all week, approaching to within yards of our local fishermen (Brian Smith). Also, a small pod of 5-6 harbour porpoises in Oisgill Bay, which included one 2-3' youngster (Brian Smith).
Very cold morning with the car showing -8°C at Lephin, -10.5°C at Skinidin and -12°C at Dunvegan on the morning commute and there was still 6-8cm of snow remaining on the ground.
There was a barn owl hunting at Fasach during daylight (Mairi Fawkes, per skye-birds.com). There was a golden eagle off the hill road in Lower Milovaig and an otter on the Milovaig common grazings, early afternoon (Kathy Lindsley).
Update: The crested tit is still around in Fasach, seen at bird feeders on Saturday and again today (Mairi Fawkes, per skye-birds.com).
There is still 6cm-8cm of snow on the ground in Glendale, which was refreshed with some heavy snow showers today.
There were two mistle thrushes feeding in the garden at 15/16 Upper Milovaig and a drake eider off the black beach, last two mornings (Clare Gray). The second woodcock of the winter was seen at Hamara Lodge at 10am (Kathy Lindsley).
There were a pair of reed buntings feeding at the road-side at Hamara Lodge, early afternoon. Our first woodcock of the winter was in the garden at 1 Lower Milovaig, late afternoon, and there were a total of 10 snipe counted on a walk between Milovaig and Fasach. There was a mistle thrush below the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, late afternoon, and two red-breasted mergansers off the black beach.
It snowed heavily overnight and we awoke to the deepest snow we've had in a long time, with 6-8cm down to sea-level and drifts up to 30cm. The temperature fell to -5°c in the early hours of the morning. The snow remained all day.
Glendale awoke to a light and patchy sprinkling of snow down to 50m amsl in places.
A very cold, wet day in Glendale with heavy sleet and snow showers throughout, although not really accumulating. Just the odd dusting below 150m.
There were a total of 5 red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon.
A dead otter was found at the road-side at the top of the brae between Fasach and Skye Silver, probably hit by a car (Helen Day).
There was a report of a juvenile long-tailed duck on Loch Mor (per skye-birds.com).
There was a very late chiffchaff with a mixed tit/goldcrest/treecreeper flock in the forest at Bharcasaig Bay. Also a single waxwing in trees beside Bharcasaig Beach at around 1pm.
There was a single harbour porpoise in Bharcasaig Bay.
There was a red grouse on Beinn Skriaig, together with 2 golden plovers, at mid-day. Red grouse are very scarce and elusive in the Glendale area and this is the first we've seen in almost nine years of walking these parts. There were two golden eagles quartering the grazings at the Galtrigill road-end, late morning.
There was an immature white-tailed eagle on the top of the Lephin crofts, which took off over the Lephin common grazings mid afternoon.
A large meteorite with a tail glowing brilliant green, then bright blue, before it burnt out was seen above Hamara at 7pm (Clare Gray).
There have been a lot of house sparrows visiting the feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig and this morning there were 80 in the garden, which is an extremely large count. There was a snipe in the drain outside Carters' Rest mid afternoon.
Skye's first ever crested tit is still visiting Mairi Fawkes's bird feeders at Fasach but not as frequently.
A very large meteorite was seen over Lower Milovaig, mid afternoon, in broad daylight. It glowed brilliant white, with an orange tail, before it burnt out.
For those who missed last month's aurora borealis on Skye, Alan Bevis has very kindly sent in this stunning photo (taken from Fiskavaig, not Glendale). n.b. The colours appear white to the naked eye.
There was an exceptionally late swallow at Lower Milovaig, which came in from the North, did a couple of passes around the gardens at 1 & 2 Lower Milovaig before continuing its journey South at around 7:40am. There were three mistle thrushes at Upper Milovaig and six teal at Kinlochfollart, Dunvegan before 8am.
A very icy morning. The B883 wasn't gritted for the morning commute and was treacherous over the brae and around Skinidin.
Glendale was battered by a storm last night which peaked at around 8pm, with our anemometer recording a top speed of 61.9 mph and Alan Dickson's on the top road reaching 71.3 mph. No snow in Glendale but there were heavy falls on the Cuillins and a scattering along the Trotternish ridge.
The crested tit was showing well again today in Mairi Fawkes's garden and many thanks to Mairi for entertaining our wee group of twitchers that were privileged to see the bird again.
The crested tit was still visiting feeders at Mairi Fawkes's house in Fasach and Mairi very kindly invited us to go along and see the bird this afternoon.
Also, unusual was a little grebe on the river Hamara at the Community Hall, the first time we have ever seen this species on the river.
A crested tit was visiting bird feeders at Mairi Fawkes's house in Fasach. This is the first ever record for Skye of this beautiful and rare bird.
There was a flock of 12 fieldfares at Lephin at 7:50am. There have been very few winter thrushes coming in so far.
There were three late gannets off Meanish Pier, late afternoon.
There were over a dozen waxwings in a garden at Tullochard, Dunvegan between 1300 and 1400 (Keith Elliott).
There was a least 1 waxwing in the trees along the waterside between Dunvegan main road and the camp-site at 5:30pm. There was also a report of 20+ waxwings at Uiginish (per skye-birds.com).
There was a group of 15 waxwings in the front garden at 2 Lower Milovaig just before 8am. They stripped the last few rowanberries before heading off towards Meanish Pier. These are rare and gorgeous birds, and the first we've seen in Milovaig since 2004. Keep your eyes on any berry-bearing shrubs!
A group of 19 waxwings (possibly the same group with extras) was in the low spruces on the top road in Lower Milovaig (Croft 2), mid afternoon, and took off across the common grazings towards Waterstein.
There was also a report of 30-40 waxwings at Upper Colbost (M. Hemming, per skye-birds.com).
There were two golden eagles riding thermals around the Milovaig Loop, mid afternoon, an immature above the top road in Upper Milovaig and an adult low over the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
Two whooper swans flew East over Loch Pooltiel at 6pm. There was a flock of 10 redwings in the gardens at 1 & 2 Lower Milovaig. There are still very few winter thrushes around at the moment.
A frosty morning in Glendale, with the car having to be scraped for the 2nd time this winter. The mountains on the Western Isles were white with snow for the first time and there was a good covering of snow on the Black Cuillins. Some stretches of ungritted road around Skeabost and Portree were white with heavy frost.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew low along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig towards the pier at 10:45am whilst being mobbed by ravens and gulls.
There is still a lingering swallow seen again at 1 Lower Milovaig today. The garden at 1 Lower Milovaig is attracting lots of late insects, which is also drawing in the late hirundines on a fuel stop. The early redwings that arrived last weekend seem to have pushed though, with just a single redwing at 2 Lower Milovaig today.
The late house martin was still at 1 Lower Milovaig.
A frosty morning, the car had to be scraped for the first time this winter.
Golden eagles showing well today, with a group of 3 and a group of 4 in the Glendale area (Eddie McHugh). A group of 9 barnacle geese flew over Waterstein Head (Eddie McHugh).
Eddie has kindly sent in this cracking golden eagle photo that he took at Waterstein.
There was a report of a late house martin at 1 Lower Milovaig (Eddie McHugh, per skye-birds.com) and there is still a lingering immature swallow at 1 Lower Milovaig, which has been there all week.
Sadly, no chance of a repeat performance of the 'lights' tonight as the clouds rolled in at dusk, after four stunning days in a row.
There was a prolonged display of the Northern Lights from 10:30pm until at least midnight. The white 'auroral glow' was clearly visible from 9pm onwards and then started forming columns & shapes from 10:30pm onwards. The aurora was mostly in white with the occasional tint of red and green. The peak of activity was around 11:30pm, with multiple columns and 'lace-curtaining'. This was one of the best displays we've seen in the last few years and we expect them to start getting better over the next few years as the sun comes to the peak of its solar cycle. The aurora was seen across all parts of North Skye and was the talk of the island next morning.
This stunning photo was kindly sent in by Alan Bevis, n.b. the colours appear white to the naked eye.
More redwings coming in overnight, with a flock of 30 at Fasach at 7:50am. There was a late swallow at Lower Milovaig at dusk.
The first redwings arrived in Glendale overnight, with one at 2 Lower Milovaig, two at 2 Lephin and one at 1 Fasach. There was also an influx of goldcrests overnight, with five on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, one at 1 Fasach, one at the community Hall and two at 2 Lephin. There also appeared to have been an influx of bullfinches, with two at 2 Lephin and two at 1 Fasach. 200 pink-footed geese flew South over Lephin at 10am, followed by another 20 at 10:30am. There was a single adult white-tailed eagle soaring low over croft 2 Lephin at mid-day that headed off towards Borrodale. The first two snipe of the winter were at 13 Upper Milovaig.
There were four golden eagles, of which at least one was an immature, and an white-tailed eagle at Neist Point (Eddie McHugh).
There were two late swallows at Upper Milovaig.
There was a group of 8 golden plovers at Borrodale at 6:45pm. There were still two late swallows at Lephin, early evening.
There was a flock of 50 twite on croft 2 Lephin all weekend. There were two pairs of grey wagtails on the bottom road in Milovaig, mid afternoon.
There was an exceptionally late wheatear at Glasphein (Donald Shields), almost a month later than all the others departed.
It's getting late in the season, so a pod of 10-20 common dolphins close in near Meanish Pier mid-afternoon was very nice. There was also a report of minke whales and dolphins on a boat trip out of Meanish Pier today (Bill Knight).
There was a female stonechat at the seaward end of the Milovaig Loop, mid afternoon and there are still a pair frequenting the gardens at 2 Lephin. There were two grey wagtails on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, mid afternoon. There are still a few swallows around but the vast bulk of them moved out over the course of this week.
There was a ground frost this morning in Glendale for the first time this autumn.
There was a white-tailed eagle soaring high above Lephin/Hamara, late afternoon. There was a group of 13 ravens tumbling above/around the cliff on croft 2 Lephin all day. There was a grey wagtail at Lephin, wintering birds are starting to come into the townships now.
There were two little grebes on Loch Dunvegan, beside the Glendale-Dunvegan 'Shortcut' Road at 8am. A skein of 70 geese flew East over Colbost at 10am (Clare Gray).
More birds on the move: A skein of 50 geese flew NE over Borrodale and a skein of 90+ geese flew NE over Milovaig, mid-morning and there was a group of 11 ravens soaring/diving behind Borrodale School, mid-morning (Clare Gray).
There were three skylarks on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, mid-morning, the first for a while, so clearly birds are starting to move through.
There was a minke whale off Neist Point all afternoon and two basking sharks between 4:30pm and 5pm (Paul Curtis & Helen Day).
There was a flock of 16 goldfinches on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at mid-day and a flock of 30 twites feeding on grass seed-heads on crofts 1 & 2 Lephin, late afternoon. There were still two lingering skylarks on the Lephin Common Grazings this afternoon but the skylarks have otherwise disappeared now. The wheatears are all gone now.
There was a minke whale off Neist Point at mid-day (Maria Pabst, Visitor from Germany).
There was a dog otter on the shore at Skinidin at 7pm (Chrissie Nicholson, Speyside Wildlife Guide).
There was a pod of 3 killer whales off Neist Point after 1pm, which looked to be a male, female and calf, plus at least three basking sharks and a minke whale (Chrissie Nicholson, Speyside Wildlife Guide). This is the first killer whale report since the first of January.
Chrissie has upload footage of the killer whales onto YouTube: click here to view the video.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle circling very low over Neil Alick's croft at Glasphein at 7:50am, giving some fantastic close views.
There were two basking sharks at Neist Point (Bob McMillan).
There were a total of 16 bonxies in 3 hours and 400-500 manx shearwaters moving South past Neist in 1 hour, plus large numbers of kittiwakes, gannets and fulmars passing through. Also, there were three knot, 25 rock pipits, 5 white wagtails and a wheatear at Neist (Bob McMillan).
There was a very large basking shark in the Minch off Lower Milovaig, mid-afternoon. There have been comparatively few reports of this species this year and it is unusual to get them this late. There was also a single minke whale off the seaward end of Lower Milovaig, mid-afternoon.
There were two 'leuchorhoa' wheatears below the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, late afternoon. The summering wheatears have gone now. A lot of the smaller birds (chaffinches, house sparrows and greenfinches) have moved on now. The bird feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig are usually emptied by lunchtime but this weekend there has still been food left in them at dusk and very few passerines visiting the bird table.
There are still a pair of stonechats at Lephin, seen in the garden at Lephin Cottage at mid-day.
There was a single otter fishing the shoreline along the white beach at Milovaig at 7pm.
There were two harbour porpoises across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel and a small pod of <10 common dolphins breaching and splashing far out in the Minch off Lower Milovaig between 7pm and 8pm.
There are many huge shoals of fish in Loch Pooltiel that are causing the surface of the water to boil at the moment.
An adult white-tailed eagle was soaring low over crofts 2 and 3 Lephin at 1pm before heading out onto the Lephin Common Grazings.
There were up to 6 minke whales and 3 harbour porpoises around, and very close to, Neist Point all day, with Minkes approaching within 5-10 yards of the shore.
There was also a single bonxie attacking gulls.
See a few of the photos below. Apologies for poor quality of the porpoise shots. They don't surface for more than a few seconds, so they are extremely difficult to capture. This is the first time I have managed to get any shots of them at Neist. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle, riding the thermals, over Upper Milovaig and Borrodale at mid-day.
A white-tailed eagle was seen flying from Borrodale over to Scorr Farm at mid-day.
There was a pod of 50+ common dolphins in Moonen Bay, approaching to within 100m of the shore, and an adult white-tailed eagle at Holmisdale (Nigel Pierce).
There was a sun fish near the Merchant, off Lower Milovaig. This is the first known record for four years and the first that Greg has seen for 17 years (Brian Smith & Greg Lane).
The temperature plunged to 7.1°C in Milovaig last night and some parts of Skye experienced a slight ground frost with temperatures down to 3°C.
There was a sub-adult white-tailed eagle off the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, mid-afternoon.
There were 2 harbour porpoises, close in-shore off the seaward end of Lower Milovaig and another across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon.
There were 3 linnets on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, early morning, and there was a female linnet in Upper Milovaig, mid afternoon. There were three wheatears along the top road showing characteristics of the race 'Leucorhoa', late afternoon. There were 20-30 manx shearwaters in the Minch off Lower Milovaig and one came into Loch Pooltiel as far as the pier, giving some good close views.
There are small numbers of yellow waxcaps in Lower Milovaig.
There was a male stonechat at Lephin, mid morning. There have been very few stonechats around this year, as the cold winter seems to have decimated them.
There was a single otter on the slipway at Meanish Pier at 10pm (Kathy Lindsley).
There were two red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel, off Pollosgan, early evening.
A single bonxie (great skua) went South across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel at 6pm.
There has been very little to report on the wildlife front this summer. Seabird numbers around Milovaig and on Loch Pooltiel have been extremely low, with only a handful of birds present at any one time.
On a positive note, here is some amazing camcorder footage, taken in July 2008 by Matt Swain, of a pod of killer whales at Neist Point. Matt has very kindly allowed me to include the footage on the web-site.
Note the very distinctive and unmistakable dorsal fin. No other cetacean has a fin like this.
There was a flock of 100+ twites feeding on grass seed heads above the bottom road on croft 5 Lower Milovaig, late afternoon.
Just a quick note on the midges. There haven't been any to speak of... until the last few days. We're now being shredded but they are still nothing like as bad as normal for this time of year. Haven't needed to use a mdge hood for gardening this year yet.
There were four minke whales at Neist Point, approaching very close to shore (Les Wood).
There was were a cow and calf minke whale about 50m off-shore off the hill road in Lower Milovaig, late afternoon (Martyn Lewis).
The post-breeding flocks of twite are now starting to form, with 30 on croft 13 Upper Milovaig at 7:50am.
A small pod of 4 common dolphins came into Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon, and spent around 30-40 minutes fishing the area between the big waterfall and the pier before heading back out to sea.
There was a pod of 50-100 common dolphins inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel at 9:20pm (Martyn Lewis).
There was a minke whale off Neist Point, early afternoon (Lindy Whelan).
A pair of red-throated divers were fishing at the head of Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon (Kathy Lindsley).
A pair of peregrine falcons have successfully reared at least one young at an eyrie on Glendale Estate.
There are a few fungi around at the moment and we've picked almost 0.5kg of delicious horse mushrooms over the last couple of days. There has also been a flush of larch boletes in Lower Milovaig over the last week.
There was a single minke whale in the Minch off Lower Milovaig, mid-afternoon.
We're (almost) getting bored of watching whales at the moment (can you ever?), so a cracking peregrine falcon soaring above the road between Lephin and Hamara Lodge, mid afternoon, made a nice change. There were two sand martins on overhead wires at Borrodale School, late afternoon. A coal tit also turned up in Lower Milovaig this morning, visiting the feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig, first we've had for a while.
There were 1000+ manx shearwaters, c.3000 auks and a single bonxie in the sea off Orbost (between Loch Bharcasaig and Harlosh Island) this afternoon. There was a single winter-plumaged black-throated diver in Bharcasaig Bay.
There was an otter in Bharcasaig Bay and two harbour porpoises off Harlosh, viewed from the Orbost Forest track.
It was a classic day for cetaceans at Neist Point, with 2 minke whales, 6-8 harbour porpoises and a pod of around 100 common dolphins between 11am and 1:30pm. The minkes and porpoises were surfacing within 20 yards of the rocks and the minkes' 'blow' was ringing around the point.
There were also two puffins (heading south), a single bonxie and around 400 manx shearwaters. The herring gulls all have large young in their nests.
The gannets were trying to steal fish from the lines of the fishermen and this angler caught a little more than he bargained for - The gannet was released unharmed (see photo below, together with a long-range shot of a minke whale taken today).
There was a single minke whale in the Minch off Lower Milovaig between 7:30pm and 8pm.
The redpolls in MacDougal's Spruces near Meanish Pier have now successfully fledged at least 2 young.
Unusually, there was a family group of two adult and two immature shelducks on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 8pm.
There were three arctic skuas heading South at Neist and a lapwing brooding three small young at Ramasaig (Bob McMillan). These are Bob's excellent photos:
There was a single harbour porpoise surfacing repeatedly within 30 yards of the shore at the seaward end of Lower Milovaig at 9:45pm, giving superb close views.
There was a single minke whale surfacing out in the Minch off Lower Milovaig at 10pm.
There were several flocks of manx shearwaters, totalling around 100 birds, surface-feeding across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel between 9:30pm and 10:15pm.
There were two minke whales off Neist Point, early evening (Heather & Kevin Tock).
There was an otter off the jetty at Meanish Pier, which came onto the rocks there, at 10:30pm (Abigail Howard).
More minke whales reported today with a pod of three or four at Neist Point (Abigail Howard) and a large adult minke whale with a calf in the Minch off Lower Milovaig, mid afternoon. There was a pod of six harbour porpoises across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon.
There is still a single bonxie at Neist Point (Abigail Howard).
There is still a singing male whitethroat in Ron & Glenda's garden at 14 Lower Milovaig.
There was a single common blue butterfly, several small copper butterflies and several Northern Marsh Orchids at Borreraig Parks.
There was confirmed breeding of a pair of whinchats at Borreraig Parks.
The fragrant orchids, common spotted and heath spotted orchids are now in full bloom at Lower Milovaig.
The first report of the year for a single minke whale off Oisgill Bay (Nick Carter).
The garden birds at 2 Lower Milovaig are all keen to fledge now, including this wee blue tit that couldn't wait to flee the nest. A little too keen in this case! Don't worry, this little one was being well cared for by its parents [15/06/2010 Found dead].
The first dolphins of the year! A pod of 8-12 common dolphins, that were breaching and splashing regularly, came inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel at 9pm, giving excellent close views from Lower Milovaig, before heading back out into the Minch.
There was an otter scampering around on the skerries and fishing between the skerries and the bottom road in Lower Milovaig from 9:30pm onwards.
There was a pod of 8 harbour porpoises surfacing across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, between 8pm and 9pm.
Anthony Robson has sent in some simply astounding photos of the basking shark that he encountered breaching at Neist Point on the 2nd. Scroll down to take a look at these amazing shots.
A bonxie was being attacked by gulls in the Minch off Lower Milovaig, late afternoon. The pair of house martins were busy today collecting mud to construct their nest under the eaves on the gable end of the Lewis's house at 5A Upper Milovaig. There was a singing male common whitethroat in the garden at 15 Lower Milovaig.
There was a female merlin in the Fasach area at 6:30am. We are still seeing some unusual bird movements with 2 house martins below the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 7:30am, 2 collared doves in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at 7:35am and 2 sub-adult black-headed gulls on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at dusk.
There was a larger 15-20 foot basking shark feeding around the Meanish Pier area from 8:30pm until 10pm, although it was diving for long periods. There was a harbour porpoise inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel at 10:00pm. The otter was again fishing around moorings and skerries from 10:15pm onwards, giving very close views from the road-side.
(Cracking day, cracking sunset and no midges today. Heaven!)
More baskers arriving! There was a 10-15 foot basking shark swimming close in and around Meanish Pier between 9:30pm and 10pm before making its way back out into the Minch. There was also a single otter fishing around the moorings and skerries on Loch Pooltiel at the same time.
(Andy's Midge Index: 20 bites/hour early evening).
The midges were biting in Milovaig for the first time this evening (5 bites/hour), a couple of days later than last year.
The first two heath spotted orchids are in bloom at Lower Milovaig. The display of bluebells in Lower Milovaig is looking very good this year,
There is still a bonxie at Neist Point and there was a basking shark that actually breached four times off Neist Point in the evening (Anthony Robson). This behaviour is very rare and thought to be connected with courtship. For more details on this amazing phenomenon click here.
There was a bonxie dive-bombing visitors at the end of Neist Point today (Michael Wild).
There was a single cormorant on Loch Pooltiel, late evening.
Further reports by Brian Smith & Greg Lane (seen from their boat): The first basking shark of the season was in Moonen Bay, a 20-25 footer with a 3 foot dorsal fin. There was also a harbour porpoise in Moonen Bay and there were 40 puffins between Neist and the Hoe.
The first baby house sparrows of the year had fledged today at 2 Lower Milovaig. The wrens, blue tits and blackbirds are all frantically relaying food to the young in their nests.
Local fishermen, Brian Smith and Greg Lane, are reporting seeing 2-3 times the usual number of puffins around Neist Point. They usually see around a dozen each visit but at the moment they are seeing 30-40.
There was a whinchat feeding on hen food in the garden at 5 Lower Milovaig (Brian Smith), the first known record for this species in Milovaig and still there up the croft, towards the common grazings mid afternoon.
There was a single harbour porpoise off Neist Point (Brian Smith & Greg Lane).
Two singing male common whitethroats turned up in Lower Milovaig today: one in MacDougal's Spruces and another above the top road on croft 12 Lower Milovaig. There is still a ringed plover in Lower Milovaig.
There was a single otter again feeding along the shoreline of Loch Pooltiel between the white beach and Pollosgan, late evening.
The carnivorous round-leaved sundews and butterwort have just emerged in Milovaig. There are still several early purple orchids in bloom in Milovaig.
There was a single otter on the shore of the white beach at Lower Milovaig, mid-afternoon.
A pair of linnets were visiting the peanut feeder at 2 Lower Milovaig all weekend.
There was a report of a corncrake calling in the Glendale area this afternoon. The RSPB are keen to hear of corncrakes being heard anywhere on Skye, so if you do hear one please either let me know or contact Shelagh Parlane at the RSPB directly.
There are a record six early purple orchids in bloom in Lower Milovaig.
Again, no snow in Glendale but there were fresh falls of snow again on the Trotternish Ridge overnight.
Unusually, there was a lone ringed plover beside the bottom road on croft 6 Lower Milovaig at 6:45pm. There were a pair of red-throated divers performing their courtship display on Loch Pooltiel at 8pm.
There were wintery showers throughout the day in Glendale, with the odd bit of sleet and hail between the sunshine. Temperatures fell to 2.5°C overnight, which is extraordinary at this time of year.
There was no snow in Glendale or on MacLeod's Tables overnight but the Cuillins and the Trotternish Ridge were white this morning with quite a substantial amount of snow.
There was a chiffchaff singing in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig all morning.
There was a singing male sedge warbler at Glendale Community Hall at 7:30am. The dippers were visiting their nest on the Hamara today.
The first butterfly of the year was in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig: a red admiral.
A BTO Breeding Bird Survey at Husabost turned up some interesting records: a late redwing, a pair of bullfinches, two white wagtails, a singing male linnet and a grey wagtail. We are currently doing well for finches in Lower Milovaig with at least one pair each of: siskin, twite, linnet, redpoll, greenfinch and chaffinch recorded at 2 Lower Milovaig today. There are still 3 linnets feeding in the gardens at 1 & 2 Lower Milovaig.
There were four linnets feeding on grass seed in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig all day and a male was in full song there at mid-day. There are still a lingering pair of redwings in the Glendale area.
We are into May now and there is still a pair of redwings in the Glendale area, with the male in full song this morning.
There was a snipe drumming at the foot of Beinn Bhuidhe, early morning and there were around 12 golden plovers behind Borrodale School in the morning (Clare Gray). There was a cuckoo in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, early evening.
Scarce visitors to Loch Pooltiel were a flock of ten ringed plovers that were on the white beach at Upper Milovaig all evening.
The were two pipistrelle bats on the wing at dusk at 2 Lower Milovaig for the first time this year,
There was beautiful female emperor moth attracted to the outside light at the Community Hall after dark (Kathy Lindsley).
A flock of 17-20 golden plovers landed on the field opposite Borrodale School, early evening (Kathy Lindsley).
The common sandpipers returned to Lower Milovaig today, with three birds between the white beach and Meanish Pier. The first cuckoo in Milovaig was calling this evening. Swallows and wheatears are everywhere now. Amazingly, we still have a pair of redwings in the gardens at 1 & 2 Lower Milovaig. The pair of red-breasted mergansers were giving some very close views from Meanish Pier, late evening. There is still a flock of 40 meadow pipits on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
There was still a golden plover around the bottom road in Lower Milovaig all day. There was a group of four swallows in Lower Milovaig all day. These are the first we have seen in Milovaig this year. There were two red-breasted mergansers off the white beach at Lower Milovaig, late evening.
There were two golden plovers around the bottom road in Lower Milovaig all morning.
There are still a pair of late redwings lingering on at Lower Milovaig. The first swallow in Glendale was seen at Hamara Lodge, early evening (Alison Stables). A great northern diver was giving excellent close views near Meanish Pier, late evening.
There were two late great northern divers and two pairs of red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel, late evening. The red-throated divers were calling loudly and performing their courtship display.
There were sleet and snow showers throughout the day but none settled in Glendale.
There was a single swallow flying along the main street at Dunvegan at 8am.
The first, very early, cuckoo has been reported calling in Glendale (Audrey Laing, Clare Gray). There are still a pair of redwings at 2 Lower Milovaig, with the male singing in the garden, late afternoon. An immature golden eagle flew over Lower Milovaig to Beinn Bhuidhe, Upper Milovaig just after 7pm before heading over to Pollosgan.
There were a single linnet and a single redwing at Borreraig Parks, late morning.
The violets have just come into bloom at both Borreraig and Milovaig. The primroses are now in full bloom.
A flock of 40 whooper swans flew NE over the Minch from Ramasaig at 10am (Clare Gray).
The meadow pipits are starting to flood back in now, with a flock of c.100 on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, early evening. There was a single white wagtail above the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, early evening, our first of the spring passage. There are still pair of redwings in Lower Milovaig, which is the latest we've ever had them stay.
There are now a pair of redwings in the gardens at 1 & 2 Lower Milovaig.
There was a single redwing in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at 6pm.
A flock of 60 whooper swans flew low, North-East over Loch Dunvegan near the water pumping station on the B884 Dunvegan-Skinidin road at 8am. There were both willow warbler and chiffchaff in full song in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at dawn.
There was a red deer hind grazing beside the B884 at Skinidin just before 8am.
The first singing male willow warbler of the year was at 2 Lower Milovaig at dawn. A 2nd singing male willow warbler was in MacDougal's spruces, near Meanish Pier, late afternoon. There was a single puffin inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. The first two returning redpolls of the year were at 2 Lower Milovaig, together with 3 siskins.
There was a pod of four harbour porpoises in the Minch off Lower Milovaig for the first time this year.
Two primroses are now in bloom at Lower Milovaig, as are the lesser celandines.
There was a very faint display of the Aurora Borealis between 10:45pm and 11pm, with shifting columns of white light visible from Lower Milovaig.
This was probably the hottest April day we've known. Absolutely perfect. Like a July day but without the midges! See weather.
There was a singing male chiffchaff at 2 Lower Milovaig this morning for the first time this year. The redwings seem to have departed overnight. There was no sign of them today.
An unusual visitor was a single greenshank on the shore at the seaward-side of Meanish Pier at 7:30pm, which flew off towards Ferinquarrie. Three redshank, the first returnees of the spring, were on the white beach at Lower Milovaig all evening. There was a singing male redwing in Sheriff's spruces near Meanish Pier, late evening, another was feeding beside the bottom road on croft 5 Lower Milovaig and several more were at 2 Lower Milovaig. I saw a swallow today at Skeabost, so keep an eye open for them arriving in Glendale soon.
The family of three otters was feeding off the white beach at Upper Milovaig at 8:30pm.
There are still 12 redwings at 2 Lower Milovaig.
The family group of three otters was again feeding off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 9:15am. There were a total of five red-throated divers inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon.
There was a lot of buzzard activity in Milovaig throughout the day and, mid-afternoon, there were six soaring together over Beinn Bhuide, Upper Milovaig. A starling at 2 Lower Milovaig has been wow-ing us this weekend with his amazing repertoire of imitations including: Chrissie Matheson's King Charles Spaniel, Ann MacKenzie's black labrador, Greg Lane's outboard motor, redwing, 'surprised' blackbird, lapwing, oystercatcher, raven, herring gull, great black-back and buzzard.
Glendale was white with frost at dawn but it went on to be another cracking, warm day.
The group of three red-throated divers (two summer, one winter) was off Meanish Pier, late afternoon. There are now small numbers of meadow pipits returning.
Our lovely family group of three otters were fishing off the white beach at Upper Milovaig at 7:15pm.
It was (surprisingly) a stunning, sunny day, after the snows of the last few days, with the temperature reaching 16.8°C in Milovaig.
There was a very thin covering of snow on higher ground in Glendale. Other parts of Skye experienced heavier falls, with 1-2cm at Fairy Bridge and 2-3cm in Portree before 8:30am.
Three golden eagles were displaying over the Three Chimneys at Colbost at 5:45pm. The birds were very low, diving-bombing and locking talons. There was a flock of 12 redwings at 2 Lower Milovaig, of which 8 had become trapped in the fruit cage and were singing beautifully before they were freed.
It was a frosty morning, with temperatures having dipped below zero overnight, and a very cold day. It was snowing in Portree and Broadford during the morning but not settling. There was no snow in Glendale.
There were a pair of wheatears on the top road in Upper Milovaig. This is the first female to arrive in Glendale. The daffodils eventually opened in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, around four weeks later than last year.
At 9:30am, an immature golden eagle was soaring fairly low over Beinn Bhuidhe (Upper Milovaig) and put on an amazing display, accompanied by a pair of our resident buzzards. This bird has been in the Milovaig area since New Year and giving the rare opportunity to enjoy some good, close views from the Milovaig Loop.
There were two male wheatears at Neist Point and two more on the white beach at Lower Milovaig. A pair of bridled guillemots is nesting at Neist Point this year and there is a 2nd nesting pair of which one bird is also bridled. The occupied seabird nest counts at Neist Point today were: 86 Kittiwake, 81 Fulmar, 9 Shag, 18 Common Guillemot (birds seen copulating), 1 Bridled Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 4 Herring Gull.
There were still 5 goldeneye on Loch Mor, Waterstein and two redwings on Croft 3 Waterstein. Still around 12 redwings at 2 Lower Milovaig and two lesser black-backed gulls on the white beach at Lower Milovaig all day.
More wheatears now arriving with a male at Skinidin at 7:50am. Also, more lesser black-backed gulls arriving with four at Lephin at 6pm.
Our first returning lesser black-backed gull was at Fasach at 7:45am. There were six redwings singing in the spruces at 2 Lower Milovaig at dawn. There are now three wheatears in Lower Milovaig, one at the pier and two just above the bottom road on Gandhi's croft.
Another unusual visitor was a single collared dove in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, mid-day. We only get one record per year for this species, every spring, with the previous sightings being on 18/4/2009 and 20/4/2008, so this bird was a month earlier than usual. There were four redwings in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig this evening.
There was an adult summer black-headed gull on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at dawn. These are quite scarce visitors to Glendale, with just a few sightings each year, mainly while birds are on passage.
The wheatears are back! There were two males feeding together at the seaward end of Lower Milovaig, just past MacDougal's spruces, mid-afternoon. The first two returning twite of the year were at 14 Lower Milovaig. Out of context, there was a golden eagle just above the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, mid-afternoon. This is extremely unusual at this time of year. There was a single red-throated diver on Loch Pooltiel. We still have redwings at 2 Lower Milovaig too.
An otter near Meanish Pier, mid-afternoon, was observed to come ashore, leave the beach (out of our view) and then return a few minutes later dragging the huge carcass of a filleted pollock. The fish was almost 1.5 times the length of the otter. It heaved the fish down onto the beach, across the cobbles, where it proceeded to remove the head from the back-bone and then eat the remains of its body. The head of the fish was 3 times the length of the otter's head.
The first white-tailed bumble-bees emerged today.
The first returning meadow pipit was on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
It was a stunning warm day today, with temperatures reaching 15.8°C and sunbathing in the garden at lunch-time!
The gannets were back inside Loch Pooltiel this evening, with 8 birds diving around the pier and in as far as Pollosgan and the white beach.
There was a group of 20 wigeon on Loch Dunvegan, close to the water treatment works on the Dunvegan-Skinidin road.
The first, very early, lamb of the spring was born to one of Sam Thorburn's ewes beside the Borrodale-Upper Milovaig road.
There was a group of six red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel that were calling loudly throughout the day.
The flowering currants are now almost in full bloom, the daffodils are in bud but a way off opening. There are no primroses in bloom yet in Milovaig, although another one was reported from Ferinquarrie (Sue Mansell). It seems that the harshest winter in 15 years has delayed the flora by around 4 weeks but the birds seem to be returning pretty much on cue, or early, in the case of gannets. We will be expecting the first wheatears to return within the next week or so.
The first returning pied wagtail of the year was on the bottom road at Lower Milovaig, mid morning.
There was an unusually high count of 10 lapwings at Borrodale, early morning (Clare Gray).
There was a group of 12 redwings in the spruces at 2 Lower Milovaig, early morning. There was a merlin hunting along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 6pm.
There were at least two pairs of redwings singing in the spruces on the bottom road at 2 Lower Milovaig at sunrise.
The first singing skylarks of the year were on Beinn Bhuidhe (Clare Gray) and the Milovaig common grazings (Kathy Lindsley). A group of 7 lapwings were back, and displaying, on the breeding ground behind Borrodale School, early morning (Clare Gray).
The group of three red-throated divers (two summer, one winter) were off the white beach at Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
The family group of three otters were again fishing the shoreline of the white beach at Upper Milovaig at 12:55pm.
The first frog spawn of the spring was spotted in a pool by the Hamara on the Fasach common grazings and a pair of golden eagles were circling over Beinn an Fhraoich (Kathy Lindsley).
There were a pair of red-breasted mergansers and a pair of goosanders feeding together off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 6pm.
After a frosty start, it was another very warm day, reaching a balmy 14.6°C. See weather page.
There was another influx of skylarks to Milovaig today, with a flock of 12 on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig and lots of skylarks flying around overhead throughout the day. There were two gannets across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon, and the first returning grey wagtail on the top road in Upper Milovaig.
There was a pair of redwings in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, with the male in full song just before dusk. The winter plumage red-throated diver was still remaining very close to Meanish, giving some good views again.
The flowers are just beginning to open on the flowering currants and the daffodils are in bud.
A really nice, warm spring day today, with temperatures reaching 12.4°C, the highest of the year so far.
There were three red-throated divers close inshore at Meanish, late afternoon, giving very good views. Two were in full breeding plumage and one was still in winter plumage. The seabirds are beginning to trickle back now with two gannets across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel and two common guillemots inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. Black guillemots are very numerous now on Loch Pooltiel.
A group of 6 whooper swans flew North-East over Milovaig early morning (Clare Gray), the first birds of the year heading back to their breeding grounds. There were a pair of goosanders of the white beach at Milovaig, early morning (Alison Stables).
There was a lone otter fishing the shoreline of the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 5:10pm.
The first primrose of the year was in bloom at Feriniquire (Kathy Lindsley).
Our entertaining family group of three otters were playing on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel and fishing in the water around them between 4:30pm and 5pm.
There were four red-throated divers and two goosanders on Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon.
There were two red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. One was almost completely moulted into its summer plumage, except that its throat was only just beginning to show red.
A pair of siskins were using bird feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig, early morning. There was a woodcock in MacDougal's Spruces, near Meanish Pier, just before dusk.
Still bitterly cold with temperatures down to -3.6°C in Milovaig and -7.5°C in Dunvegan last night. Frozen snow still lying around Glendale down to sea-level (see Milovaig Temperature Graph).
A very cold start with temperatures having fallen to -3.7°C overnight. Yesterday's snow-fall remained on the ground all day.
There were two mistle thrushes below the bottom road on croft 2 Lower Milovaig, early morning.
Glendale awoke to 2-3cm of snow, which lay on the ground all day.
A superb day for otters today, as Loch Pooltiel remained like glass throughout. Our family group of three otters were again feeding together off the White Beach at Lower Milovaig at 8am. Another otter was diving over the submerged skerries at 12:20pm and another otter was fishing way out in the sea off Meanish Pier, several hundred yards from land, at 3pm.
There was a single great northern diver on Loch Pooltiel. There was a group of 5 skylarks above the hill road on croft 14 Lower Milovaig. A single gannet was in the Minch just outside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel. There is still a group of 13 greylag geese grazing around Milovaig, which has been in the area for a few weeks now.
Glendale awoke again to a thin covering of snow. Snow showers continued throughout the day, with a particularly heavy fall between 2pm and 3pm, when 2cm fell on Lower Milovaig.
The skylarks are back and two days earlier than last year! There was a group of 4 flying around crofts 2 & 4 Lower Milovaig (on the bottom road) all morning. A nice female hen harrier flew past Carters' Rest, Upper Milovaig, late afternoon, heading in the direction of Borrodale. There were two red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon.
Glendale awoke to a thin covering of snow down to sea-level, with about 1cm in the brae. Snowing heavily at Fairy Bridge and Portree before 9am, with some stretches of road there white over.
A flock of around 20 redwings arrived in the spruces at 2 Lower Milovaig overnight and were singing in unison at dawn. This is an annual phenomenon in Milovaig, during the reverse migration, with birds present and singing until mid-April.
There were 119 occupied fulmar nests and 9 occupied shag nests at Neist Point today. No auks or kittiwakes on the cliffs yet. There were just six common guillemots on the water around Neist and a few more heading north past the point. There were a steady trickle of gannets heading North past Neist Point with nine counted in total. A juvenile white-tailed eagle was picked up way out at sea off Benbecula (mid-afternoon) and flew directly across the water to Neist, where it did a number of spectacular low passes around the point, horse's head and car park area before heading across Moonen Bay and landing on the cliff face. There were a great northern diver, a red-throated diver and four eider in Moonen Bay. There were 3 goldeneye on Loch Mor, Waterstein.
Two pairs of red-breasted mergansers were courting on Loch Dunvegan, in front of the Raven Press Gallery at 10am (Kathy Lindsley).
There is still a single great northern diver on Loch Pooltiel, giving good views today off the pier. The hooded crows that nest near Meanish Pier have been patching their nest today. Robins (Clare Gray) and song thrushes have also been seen carrying nesting materials over the weekend. The robins and song thrushes have been singing lustily for a week or so now. Spring is in the air!
A group of 8 siskins flew into Glendale over the brae on the Borreraig-Glasphein road mid-day. There were 12 fieldfares at Glasphein at mid-day and there is just a single redwing at 2 Lower Milovaig. There were woodcock at Scoval, Borreraig and two in the grounds of Husabost House. There is still a single great northern diver on Loch Pooltiel. Two golden eagles were soaring on the Martin Estate in the lovely spring sunshine.
There was a lovely family group of three otters feeding together off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 5pm.
There was a group of 8 red-breasted mergansers on Loch Dunvegan in front of the Raven Press Gallery (Kathy Lindsley).
There was a female hen harrier quartering below the top road in Lower Milovaig, early morning (Nick Carter). The black guillemots have returned in full force today, with nine on Loch Pooltiel mid-afternoon.
A white-tailed eagle flew West over the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 9am (Alison Stables). There were two great northern divers in Loch Dunvegan, off Borreraig, at mid-day.
There were 12 grey seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel most of the day, which is the highest count of the year so far.
Snowing heavily in Glendale at 6pm with already 1 cm of powder snow settled down to sea-level. 2cm by 8pm. All gone by the next morning.
There were two red deer on the Milovaig common grazings at Rubha Ban, mid afternoon.
Another very cold day with the occasional sleet and snow shower but not settling.
One of our resident pairs of buzzards in Milovaig has begun to build their nest today, another sign that Spring is on the way. There was a summer plumage black guillemot off the skerries in Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon.
It turned very cold again yesterday, with flurries of sleet and snow throughout yesterday and today, although not settling in Glendale.
The first snowdrops have come into bloom in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig. Only a day later than last year, despite the harsh winter.
There was a dead male red fox on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, close to Carters' Rest, today. It had apparently been run over and someone had taken its tail as a trophy.
There was a single summer-plumaged common guillemot off Meanish Pier, mid afternoon. This is the first returning bird of the new season. There were two great northern divers off Meanish Pier at the same time.
The big freeze, that started on December 21st, finally ended yesterday, with temperatures reaching 9.3°C yesterday. Graph.
There were unprecedented numbers of woodcock in Milovaig today, with at least 10 birds feeding and flying openly around the loop, early afternoon, including one group of four feeding openly together on an unfrozen patch of ground behind 2 Lower Milovaig. There were also 6 common snipe flushed around the loop and still one jack snipe, today seen on the burn through 6 Upper Milovaig.
This was the coldest day so far of the 'big freeze' with the temperature falling to -4.1°C at 8:30am in Lower Milovaig.
Our problem red fox in Milovaig took a hen at Carters' Rest, mid morning and then returned again, just before dusk, to try again (Steve & Julie Carter).
There was an otter feeding off the white beach at Upper Milovaig at 4pm, which gradually worked its way out into the middle of Loch Pooltiel.
There was a group of four lapwings on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, early morning. The peregrine falcon is still around Milovaig, seen this afternoon below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig in front of Gandhi's caravan. A total of 6 woodcock, 2 common snipe and a curlew were counted along the bottom road between 2 Lower Milovaig and MacDougal's spruces just before dusk.
There was a jack snipe in the middle of the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 7:50am, brilliantly lit by the car headlights.
A very cold day on Skye with temperatures falling to -2.9°C in Milovaig, -8.0°C in Dunvegan and -12.0°C in Portree.
The diurnal red fox at Milovaig took another three hens from the garden at 12 Upper Milovaig at mid-day (Andrea Cross).
A belated report of killer whales at Milovaig on the 1st has just come in. See below for more details.
At 11am, there was an immature white-tailed eagle carrying pink tags soaring around Leinish Bay, off Totaig (Jim Adams). At 2pm, the peregrine falcon was seen again, coming in off Loch Pooltiel at the allt mor burn, flying behind the Clelands' house and then landing on Beinn Bhuidhe between 15 & 16 Upper Milovaig, giving superb close views (Clare Grey).
Another jack snipe was caught in the car headlights beside the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 5pm.
There was a stunning jack snipe in a road-side drain on the seaward end of the Milovaig Loop, early afternoon. This is the first time that we have recorded this species in Glendale. There was a single golden plover below the bottom road on Croft 1 Lower Milovaig, mid-morning. There was a lone male goosander off the white beach at Lower Milovaig all day. There were no divers on Loch Pooltiel today and most of the meadow pipits and continental thrushes seem to have moved on.
We recorded a minimum temperature of -3.8°C in Lower Milovaig last night. This was the coldest night, so far, of the big freeze that we are having. For anyone interested, a graph of the temperatures can be viewed here.
At around 1:30pm, a peregrine falcon flew low, North along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig. These are very scarce visitors to Milovaig, although they do breed on Glendale Estate. The over-wintering chiffchaff at Lower Milovaig was again seen this afternoon in MacDougal's spruces, near Meanish Pier. The bird was calling repeatedly, which may indicate that there is a 2nd bird present.
Two white-tailed eagles put on a good flying display over Loch Dunvegan, off Totaig, today and spent over an hour sunning themselves on one of the islets. A third bird carrying yellow/orange tags was also seen in the same area (June & Jim Adams).
A pod of three killer whales was seen heading North off Rubha Ban. This was probably a family group, as the individuals were each of different sizes. The large dorsal fin and black/white colouration were clearly visible (Ewan Halley).
There were 3 golden plovers on the white beach at Lower Milovaig all day. A stunning female merlin was hunting along the shoreline at Meanish Pier, early afternoon, before flying across Loch Pooltiel to Ferinquarrie. There were two red-throated divers feeding very close to Meanish Pier, early afternoon. There was a New Year eagle-fest in Milovaig between 3pm and 3:30pm. An immature white-tailed eagle was soaring low over the white beach at Lower Milovaig, gradually drifting towards the pier, where it was joined by an immature golden eagle. The golden eagle stayed with it for around 10 minutes, both swirling around together above the pier, before the goldie flew over to Beinn Bhuidhe for 10 minutes, then headed on towards Lephin. The white-tailed eagle then flew back to Beinn Bhuidhe where it remained soaring low over the houses between Bob & Anna's and Carter's Rest, before it too made off in the direction of Lephin.
Just for interest, these are grainy photos of the eagles, taken at the time, that illustrate the distinct differences between the two species:
Immature Golden Eagle
at Lower Milovaig
Immature White-Tailed Eagle
at Lower Milovaig
A very happy New Year to all the regular readers of this blog!
2-4cm of snow fell overnight and freezing temperatures made the roads very icy for the whole of, what was, a beautiful, clear sunny day.