These were the wildlife highlights in Glendale, Isle of Skye, in 2011.
If you saw something interesting/unusual in Glendale this year then please do email in.
There was a single red-throated diver close to shore off the white beach at Upper Milovaig mid afternoon. There has been surprisingly little wildlife around this month, probably all moved off to areas with better weather. It has been pretty dreadful over Christmas and New Year with almost constant rain and high winds.
I'd just like to wish a very Happy New Year to all the regular readers of this blog.
Glendale was again battered by a severe gale in the afternoon with wind speeds gusting up to 79.3mph. Sam Thorburn's ruin on the top road in Upper Milovaig finally lost its roof.
Glendale was battered by a severe storm in the afternoon with wind speeds up to 74mph.
Glendale was under a blanket of snow at first light, with 1 to 2cm having fallen overnight and over 5cm in places. The road over the Brae was impassable at 8:40am with 4 cars already stuck but was navigable from 9:30am onwards, after the gritter had been through.
There was an exceptionally late twite in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a thin sprinkling of snow down to sea-level in Glendale for the first time this winter and there were sleet and snow showers throughout the day but no accumulation.
There was a female eider duck off the white beach at Lower Milovaig.
There was a barn owl hunting on the croft at 2 Lephin at dusk.
There has been a chiffchaff in the garden at 16 Upper Milovaig for the last few days and there was a snow bunting at Scoval a few days ago (Bob Cleland).
Glendale awoke to its first frost of the winter, with temperatures down to +2°C at Lephin and 0°C at Skinidin. It was -1.5°C at Dunvegan.
There was a barn owl hunting beside the B884 at Skinidin at 5:45pm.
There was a single lapwing, battling the wind, heading West over the top road in Upper Milovaig, mid afternoon. It is very rare to see them in Glendale in winter.
There was still a late pipistrelle bat on the wing at dusk at 2 Lower Milovaig.
There was a woodcock flying around the gardens at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig at dawn.
There was a big influx of winter thrushes overnight with small groups of 5-10 mixed redwings, fieldfares and blackbirds all over the glen and a big flock of 150 redwings & fieldfares at Lephin. One flock at Lower Milovaig had 10 blackbirds, a few redwings and a fieldfare. The first woodcock of the winter was flushed on the croft at 2 Lephin at 9am.
There was a beatiful male blackcap in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at 11am, which made a brief, nervous visit to the bird table.
There was a white-tailed eagle below the cliff on Croft 2 Lephin, early afternoon, that flew across the glen to the brae before veering off up to Scoval. There was a barn owl hunting on Croft 2 Lephin at 6:45pm that flew over the hen houses and landed on the deer-strainer, beside the polytunnel, which it was using as a look-out post.
A group of 8 redwings was on croft 2 Lephin at 8:30am, our first of this winter.
The first very cold morning of the year, with temperatures down to +2.5°C in Glendale but no frost. There was snow on the Cuillins for the first time this winter.
There are still a pair of stonechats frequenting the bracken at the seaward end of the Milovaig loop. They are now fully moulted into their adult plumage and have been in this area since mid September.
There was a flock of 40 goldfinches at Hamaraverin.
There was a dead otter in a drain beside the B884 at Skinidin at 7:55am, presumably hit by a car.
A skein of 40 geese flew high south over Holmisdale at 7:45am.
A skein of 30 geese flew high south over Skinidin at 5:45pm.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle circling very low below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at around 9:45am, gradually drifting across Loch Pooltiel to Scorr Farm.
Unfortunately, it was cloudy on the 4th and, though clear, on the 5th the aurora was not visible.
Another coronal mass ejection (CME) from a sun-spot occurred on Saturday and is currently hurtling towards the Earth at 500m/s. This will hit the Earth's atmosphere on either Tuesday or Wednesday and is expected to trigger another series of auroras once it arrives. Fingers crossed for some clear skies. What a great start to the aurora-watching season this has been!
There was a very late peacock butterfly in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, basking in the beautiful, warm sunshine.
There were two red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. There were two white-tailed eagles above the Ferinquarrie road in the afternoon (Paul Curtis).
There was a male hen harrier between Bolvean and Orbost (Kathy Lindsley).
There was a winter plumage black-headed gull on the white beach at Lower Milovaig, mid morning. There was a flock of 5 lapwings at Borrodale at mid-day.
There was a late female wheatear on the B884 between the Kinloch and Orbost turns (Kathy Lindsley).
The aurora borealis was again visible last night from 8:30pm onwards, for the third time this week. Unfortunately most of the activity was hidden behind a big lump of cloud and we were left watching through a thin strip of clear skye above the horizon. The aurora was mostly green, with occasional bright orange/red flares and a short period of 'firework'-level intensity.
There was a very late male 'leuchorhoa' wheatear at Meanish Pier at 8:30am. The last two swallows of the year were at Lephin.
There was a wheatear at Neist Point (per skye-birds.com).
It was unseasonably hot today with the temperature reaching 19.9°C in Glendale and it was still over 18°C at 9pm at night. By this time last year we had already had our first frost.
During a break in the clouds at around 10:30pm the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) was faintly visible, with three wide horizontal green bands that were merging and parting. Unfortunately, the light intensity was too low to capture with the camera.
There was an amazing aurora over Glendale between 9pm and 11pm, with red, green and white light and an extremely bright auroral glow from sunset onwards. Click the photos, which show the aurora over Chrissie Matheson's house at Lower Milovaig. The photos were taken at around 10:40pm. The aurora appeared mostly white to the naked eye and there was no perceptible movement.
A white-tailed eagle flew from Scorr Farm across Loch Pooltiel to the white beach at Lower Milovaig and then across Beinn Bhuidhe towards Pollosgan at 7:15am. There was an extremely late female wheatear beside the Kinloch/Glendale Road at Dunvegan at 5:45pm.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle riding thermals over the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 6pm, which headed off over Beinn Bhuidhe towards Pollosgan. There were a sub-adult pair of stonechats at the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, both were almost fully moulted into their adult plumage, mid afternoon. There was a single red-throated diver on Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon.
There were two white-tailed eagles riding the thermals over Ferinquarrie, Glasphein and Fasach that were also mobbed by a pair of buzzards (Paul Curtis & Helen Day). There were two white wagtails at Meanish Pier at 8:30am.
A pomarine skua went North and eight whooper swans went South at Neist Point (per skye-birds.com).
A skein of 30 geese flew North-East over Lephin at 7pm.
The trees have noticeably started to take on their autumn colours over the last few days.
There was a flock of 20 linnets on croft 2 Lephin at 7:50am.
A skein of 80 greylag geese flew North-East over Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon.
The last remaining wheatear was at Upper Milovaig today.
We're still seeing good numbers of swallows around and there was still a wheatear at Upper Milovaig.
A juvenile long-tailed skua flew South at Neist Point (Bob McMillan). There was a mixed flock of 120 twites, linnets and goldfinches feeding on grass see heads on croft 2 Lephin at 6pm. This flock included many juvenile birds that were still being fed by adults and there were between 12 and 20 linnets.
There was an otter fishing off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 7:30am that came ashore at the mouth of the allt mor burn. It then ran across the beach and up beinn bhuidhe.
There was a swallow still visiting a nest at Ramasaig.
A cold day, with a strong northerly wind, has prompted the bulk of our summer visitors to depart. There were just three lingering wheatears at Milovaig and four swallows at Hamaraverin, no willow warblers around today. Taking their place was a visiting group of eight white wagtails on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
There were significant movements of seabirds heading North at Neist Point including two sooty shearwaters, 1000 manxies per hour, 9 bonxies and 1 arctic skua plus kittiwakes and fulmars (Bob McMillan & Martin Benson). See Martin's amazing photo.
There was an otter fishing off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 7:45am.
A pod of three minke whales put on a good show, close to shore, at Neist Point today and they could also be heard blowing (J & H Donaughee).
There was a group of 12 linnets on croft 2 Lephin at 7:30am, with a flock of 40 twites. There was a flock of 50 twites outside "the Croft House", Lower Milovaig, mid afternoon. There was a flock of 60 house sparrows at the bird feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig all day.
A pod 6 - 12 dolphins went across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, towards Neist Point, in the morning (Geoff & Katriona Field). There were three harbour porpoises in the Minch off Neist Point and another 100m off the lighthouse, in the afternoon (Paul Curtis & Helen Day).
A pair of swallows are still feeding their brood in the nest at the Raven Press Gallery, which is extremely late (Kathy Lindsley).
An adult white-tailed eagle flew low over Carters' Rest, Upper Milovaig at 7:30am and on towards Pollosgan. It was then seen again at 9:45am flying across Loch Pooltiel from Scorr Farm to Lower Milovaig.
There was a flock of 60 twites and 8 linnets feeding on grass seed heads at croft 2 Lephin throughout the day.
A peregrine falcon stooped on the rock doves using the bird table at 2 Lower Milovaig at 6:30am but missed the target.
The post-breeding twite flocks are starting to build up now with 30-40 on the top road in Lower Milovaig and 40+ at Hamaraverin.
There was a flock of 45-50 golden plovers on Ben Vratabreck at 12:45pm and a merlin hunting a skylark at Loch Eishort at 1:15pm (Kathy Lindsley).
There was a pod of four harbour porpoises in the Minch off Lower Milovaig at 9pm.
There was a single minke whale again feeding close to the Merchant Rock, off the seaward end of Lower Milovaig, at 9pm (Kathy Lindsley).
There was a single minke whale feeding close to the Merchant Rock, off the seaward end of Lower Milovaig, at 9pm (Kathy Lindsley).
There have been hardly any midges around in Glendale this summer until the last week or so and the last few days, with no wind and warm, damp air, have been utter midge hell.
There was a merlin hunting around Borrodale at mid-day.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew North-West along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 3:15pm.
The displays of orchids this summer have been the best for many years, with hundreds of heath spotted and fragrant orchids in bloom on croft 2 Lephin over the last few weeks.
A juvenile cuckoo was seen being fed by an unidentified host bird on croft 15 Lower Milovaig (Ron Sutton).
A peregrine falcon flew North-West over the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 7:25pm.
There was a small basking shark cruising around the big skerry in Loch Pooltiel in the morning and there are still a pair of arctic skuas harassing the gulls in Moonen Bay (Brian Smith).
There were a pair of whinchats at the Galtrigill turning place at mid-day.
There was a beautiful family of twelve stoats playing in the middle of the road at Borreraig parks at mid-day.
There was a chiffchaff singing at 2 Lower Milovaig this morning, the first time since April.
There was a mute swan swimming on the sea between Lorgill Bay and the Hoe, a pair of great northern divers in Moonen Bay and two dolphins off Neist Point (Brian Smith). Brian reports that the vast flocks of manx shearwaters we are seeing are feeding on millions of herring fry around 1 inch long.
There was a beautiful otter grooming itself on the big skerry in Loch Pooltiel at 10pm, which also ate a fish and sea urchin.
There were three minke whales close in around Neist Point and two dolphins further off shore (John & Mary Sweasey).
The grasshopper warbler at 3 & 4 Lephin is continuing to sing throughout both day and night. There was a huge flock of seabirds surface-feeding off Meanish Pier, mid afternoon, comprised of 500 manx shearwaters and 300 kittiwakes.
There was a report of around 15 swifts along the cliffs near Neist Point, which is an unprecedented number (per skye-birds.com).
The grasshopper warbler at Lephin has been very vocal after 11pm every night this week but was even reeling in broad daylight at 10am today.
There was a beautiful male whinchat on the bottom road in Ferinquarrie and a red-throated diver off the black beach at mid-day.
There were two, maybe three, harbour porpoises in the Minch off Lower Milovaig at 5pm.
There are 'literally hundreds' of manx shearwaters feeding around Neist and Moonen Bay on small fish around an inch long (Brian Smith), we're also seeing large groups in the Minch off Lower Milovaig, also coming into Loch Pooltiel.
There was a report of a turtle dove visiting a garden in Borreraig for a few days around this date (per skye-birds.com). This only the second record for Glendale, with the previous bird being at Lower Milovaig on 14/9/2008.
There were two harbour porpoises in the Minch off Lower Milovaig at 6:30pm.
There were two otters fishing along the shore, west of Meanish Pier 9pm onwards, one of which caught eight butterfish in half an hour (Kathy Lindsley).
The grasshopper warbler was singing in the damp scrub below the Holmisdale Road on crofts 3 & 4 Lephin at 11:15pm.
The midges are starting to get very bad now that the weather is good.
There were a pair of arctic skuas in Moonen Bay, two pairs of bonxies at Neist and a pod of four or five minke whales feeding < 50 metres from the shore at Neist (Brian Smith).
At 1pm, a white-tailed eagle raided the gull colony on Eilean Dubh, opposite the Raven Press Gallery, and took a chick (Kathy Lindsley).
There was a minke whale within 10m of the shore at Neist, early evening (Martin ? & Rebecca Smith).
Skye was hit by torrential rain overnight with 44mm of rain falling on Glendale in 12 hours. By 8am, the river Hamara had impressively burst its banks, flooding parks around, and even lapping into, the cemetery and breaching the ox-bows at Ferinquarrie.
Sightings are still well down on last year, so it was nice to have an otter off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 7am.
The first midges are just starting to sharpen up their teeth, with about 3 bites/hour at Lephin this evening.
There was a report of a whimbrel at Loch Pooltiel (per skye-birds.com).
There has been a male common whitethroat singing in gardens around the post office for the last week or so. Good numbers of gannets and kittiwakes are starting to come into Loch Pooltiel to feed now. There was a group of around 30 manx shearwaters feeding across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, mid afternoon.
There was a magpie at Totaig, with a group of mixed corvids, at 8am. This species is an extremely rare vagrant on Skye and is the first record in Glendale for 20 years.
Glendale has been battered by storms and torrential rain for the last two days, with winds gusting to 63mph yesterday and 72mph today.
A hooded crow systematically searched a hedge in our garden at Lower Milovaig to find the nest of a pair of blackbirds. It removed one large, point-of-fledge chick, which it stabbed to death with its beak. It partially ate the chick before carrying off the carcass to its own nest. It then returned three more times to take the remaining chicks.
The first young are starting to fledge today, with fledgling house sparrows in the garden for the first time. The other garden bird species are still manically transporting food to nests, so more young will be leaving their nests imminently.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew extremely low along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 6:30pm, whilst being mobbed by gulls. It continued towards Carters' Rest before heading across towards Waterstein.
There are five early purple orchids in bloom at Lower Milovaig, which is the most for at least 5 years. The carnivorous butterworts and round-leaved sundews have now emerged this week. The first bluebells are starting to flower.
There was a single red-throated diver and a single, summer-plumage great northern diver on Loch Pooltiel.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle soaring low over the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, late evening, working its way gradually towards the sea.
The first blackcap of the year was singing in Lydia Cast's garden at 2 Lephin throughout the day.
The first grasshopper warbler of the year was reeling at the Community Hall, late evening (Kathy Lindsley).
The first minke whale of the season was at Neist Point today and there are two bonxies at Neist Point (Brian Smith). Brian also reports that there are large numbers of puffins around Neist and in Loch Pooltiel and also good numbers of manx shearwaters around Neist and Moonen Bay.
There was a pod of dolphins in the mouth of Loch Pooltiel and 5 bonxies (Brian Smith).
The first returning sedge warbler of the year was singing at the Community Hall.
There was a dipper on the Borrodale River, below the school, and two house martins at the watermill (Clare Gray).
There were three red grouse at Ben Uisge, above Lorgill, and a white-tailed eagle and common sandpiper at Loch Dubh (Kathy Lindsley).
There are still big numbers of meadow pipits around, with a flock of 50 feeding on croft 2 Lephin today.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle soaring over crofts 1 and 2 Lephin, mid afternoon.
There are a pair of grey wagtails back at Upper Milovaig (Clare Gray).
More cuckoos arriving with birds now at Lephin, Fasach, Milovaig and Scorr Farm.
The common sandpipers are back on the white beach at Milovaig this morning. The first cuckoo of the year was calling at Lephin at 7:45am. Another cuckoo was at Fasach, late evening (Audrey Laing).
The first early purple orchid of the year was in bloom at Scorr Farm. The primroses and violets are now in full bloom around Glendale.
There was a singing male linnet at Hamara Lodge. There were 6 twite and 2 linnets visiting the garden and feeders at 2 Lower Milovaig today, the twite having only just returned.
The wandering crested tit has now moved to Ord.
A crested tit has now turned up in Broadford. It is very likely that this is the same bird that over-wintered in Mairi Fawkes's garden at Fasach and which is making its way back home, now that its hormones are kicking in.
There are good numbers of puffins off Neist and a bonxie is back there (Brian Smith).
There were two sand martins at Colbost at 7:55am and a swallow there at 6pm.
Big fall of meadow pipits today in Glendale, with around 150-200 between Milovaig and Lephin, all making their way inland from the sea in groups of 15-30, although lots of individuals around too. More willow warblers arrived overnight, with birds singing at both Milovaig and Lephin today. There was a great northern diver in full summer plumage off the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, mid afternoon. There were 3 linnets in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig all afternoon, interesting, as we have no twite around just now.
Lots of primroses and lesser celandines in bloom around Milovaig now.
The first willow warbler of the year was singing below the road on croft 4 Lephin at 7am. There was a chiffchaff singing at 2 Lower Milovaig for the first time this year. Four golden plovers flew west over Lower Milovaig at 7:15am and a skein of 20 geese flew North over Hamaraverin shortly after. There are still around a dozen singing redwings at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig. The was an immature white-tailed eagle very low over the Lephin crofts just after mid-day which headed off towards Holmisdale.
The first butterflies of the year were on the wing today, with both a small tortoiseshell and a red admiral at Lephin Cottage.
It's summer! The first swallow was back at Hamara Lodge this afternoon... and another was at Lephin, at 7pm (Alison Stables). There were still around 12 redwings singing at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig this morning.
There was a pipstrelle bat flying around the trees at 2 Lephin, in broad daylight, at 6:55pm.
There was a great northern diver in the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. The gannets have been coming into Loch Pooltiel again this weekend, for the first time this year. There are still around twenty redwings dotted around Milovaig, almost every clump of trees/bushes had a few this afternoon. Wheatears are everywhere now.
Redwing return migration started overnight, with 20 birds turning up in the gardens at 1 and 2 Lower Milovaig. They were singing both collectively and individually, in full song, this morning, creating a massive wall of sound. This is an annual event in Milovaig, as birds gather to feed up before returning to Iceland, and normally lasts through until early May. The first arriving chiffchaff of the spring was in song at Lephin, early morning, when the rain stopped.
A drake teal, brought down in flight by gulls at the mouth of the Hamara, was taken to the vets and found to have a badly broken leg, so was put down (Clare Gray).
The first redpoll of the year was flying around Lephin all morning. A flock of 20 whooper swans flew North over Lower Milovaig at dusk.
There were three harbour porpoises off Neist Point and an adult white-tailed eagle over Loch Mor (Kevin & Fiona Smith, who also report that shags are currently gathering nesting material at Neist).
A flood of wheatears arrived overnight with one at 1 Lephin, early morning, two at 2 Lephin (male singing all morning), two at Upper Milovaig and a report of ten at Neist (per skye-birds.com). A redwing has turned up in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig overnight. They've been very conspicuous in their absence this spring and throughout the winter. There was a male tawny owl hooting outside Lephin Cottage from 9:15pm onwards.
There was a linnet on croft 2 Lephin, mid morning. Also, both skylarks and meadow pipits singing there today for the first time this year. There was a report of a brambling at Fasach and the crested tit now appears to have gone, as not seen for over 10 days (Mairi Fawkes, per skye-birds.com).
There was a report of two basking sharks off Dunvegan Head (per skye-birds.com).
There were newts and spawn in loch Druim a' Chaoil, golden plovers back on the nesting grounds there and a pair of white-tailed eagles West of the loch (Kathy Lindsley).
Otter sightings have been well down over the winter, so it was nice to have one off the white beach at Upper Milovaig at 7pm that caught a large fish and brought it ashore at the mouth of the allt mor burn to eat.
The first wheatear of the year, a very tired male, was below the bottom road on croft 2 Lower Milovaig, late evening. Unusually, there was a drake goldeneye off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 6pm, the first time we have ever seen goldeneye on Loch Pooltiel. A robin has been busy building a nest in our garden at Lower Milovaig for the last two days.
The cetacean-watching season kicked off today, with a single harbour porpoise in the Minch off Lower Milovaig.
The first gannet of the year was in the Minch off Lower Milovaig and the first common guillemot of the year was in Loch Pooltiel, late afternoon. More pied wagtails are arriving, with a pair in Upper Milovaig and two males at Lower Milovaig.
There was a singing skylark at Skinidin (they're slow to get going this year) and a very good count of 30 oystercatchers on the shore there (Kathy Lindsley).
The first white-tailed bumble bees emerged today, which is exactly the same date that they emerged last year, and the first daffodil opened in our garden, which is also bang on cue.
Red deer have destroyed around 20 newly planted trees and shrubs on our croft at 2 Lephin over the last two nights.
An early meadow pipit was on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, early morning. There was also a pied wagtail back on its patch, there, for the first time this year.
The first two lesser black-backed gulls of the year returned to Fasach, late afternoon.
The first returning pied wagtail of the year was on the croft at 2 Lephin, early morning.
There were heavy rain, sleet and snow showers throughout the day but nothing settled.
Return migration is underway, with 3 whooper swans North over Beinn Bhuidhe, mid morning (Clare Gray).
There was a barn owl hunting over the B884 at Fasach at 9:30pm.
There were five red deer on the croft at Lephin Cottage just before dusk.
Glendale was white at dawn, with a covering of snow (<1cm). Other parts of Skye, and the roads through to Portree had 1-2cm of snow.
Amazingly, the crested tit is alive and well, and still visiting bird feeders at Fasach (Mairi Fawkes).
There were heavy sleet and snow showers in the afternoon but nothing settled.
The snowdrops have finished flowering now and the first daffodil buds are starting to break.
The blackbirds have begun singing again in Milovaig this week and what a beautiful sound it is! The starling has been on top form this week doing his perfect rendition of Chrissie Matheson's dog, Oscar.
A group of 8 lapwings flew from Pollosgan to Borrodale at 8:30am and the first skylark was singing on Beinn Bhuidhe (Clare Gray).
The starlings are singing and mimic-ing again and were visiting their nest hole in our chimney today for the first time this year.
This lovely spring weather is really bringing things on!
The first wild primrose of the year is in flower at Sheriff's Boat-Shed, near Meanish Pier.
More signs of spring: there was frog spawn in a pool by the Hamara River, on the Fasach common grazings and also coltsfoot and hazels flowering there (Kathy Lindsley).
There is still a female reed bunting coming to the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage.
There was a very early returning meadow pipit on croft 2 Lephin, mid morning. There is still a lone redwing in the spruces on croft 4 Lephin but there are absolutely no other winter thrushes around this year, which is extremely unusual.
There was a good count of 20 grey seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel.
There was a beautiful barn owl hunting along the roadside between Lephin and Hamara Lodge at 6pm.
Yet more signs of spring: a lapwing at Pollosgan this morning (Clare Gray).
More signs of spring today with the first five skylarks of the year returning to Beinn Bhuidhe (Clare Gray).
There is a very high chance of another display of the Northern Lights over the next few nights, due to a massive solar flare. The forecast is clear for tonight, so fingers crossed!
It was cloudy!
There were two young red deer stags rutting, horns locked in combat, in the middle of the road at Skye Silver at 8am.
There are six early, spring lambs on the Estate parks near the Hamara Lodge.
Three reed buntings (two males and a female) were visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage, early afternoon. There was a redwing in the garden at Glenview B&B (3 Lephin) all morning. They've been virtually absent from Glendale this winter, so this is the first we've seen in a long time.
A red fox was seen again on 11 Upper Milovaig at 9am (Andrea Cross).
There was a charm of 13 goldfinches using the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage at mid-day. There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle over croft 1 Lephin at 1pm, which landed on the adjoining Estate land before heading off onto the Lephin common grazings. Forty golden plovers flew West over Lephin Cottage at 1pm. The black guillemots have now returned in full to Loch Pooltiel this weekend.
There are good numbers of returning guillemots, razorbills and fulmars on the water around Neist Point (Brian Smith).
There was a male stonechat on croft 2 Lephin all morning. This is the first record of the year and may be a returning bird, en route to its breeding ground.
There was a flock of 20 ravens and a pair of golden eagles above the top road in Fasach around mid-day.
There has been a single mistle thrush feeding on croft 13 Upper Milovaig, opposite Carters' Rest since yesterday. Mistles are always scarce winter visitors to Glendale but this winter all of the winter thrushes have been conspicuous in their absence.
Unusually for this time of year, the first twite of the year returned to Milovaig, with two at Meanish Pier and another at 2 Lower Milovaig. This is about six weeks earlier than they normally return. There was a male red-breasted merganser at Meanish Pier all morning.
Glendale was battered by a storm in the afternoon, with a peak gust of 78.4 mph recorded on the top road in Lower Milovaig and even our relatively sheltered spot on the bottom road recorded 57.9 mph. 157 homes around the Milovaig area were without power for a couple of hours, late afternoon.
There were a pair of red foxes playing openly below the bottom road on croft 1 Lower Milovaig between 10am and 10:15am before heading off up the allt mor burn towards Carters' Rest. Keep a good eye on the hens!
Seen again at 11am, heading along the cliff-top above the white beach around towards Pollosgan.
There are still a pair of reed buntings visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage daily.
We're seeing a few unexplained bird deaths at Lower Milovaig over the last two days, with two dead chaffinches, one very weak chaffinch and now a very weak robin visiting the bird feeders.
The lovely, mild weather over the last few days has brought the snowdrops into bloom around Glendale.
A pair of reed buntings were again visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage at mid-day. There was a male red-breasted merganser off the black beach of Loch Pooltiel, mid-afternoon (Alison Stables).
There was an exceptionally early pipistrelle bat flying around the garden at Lephin Cottage at dusk.
There were 5 goosanders at the mouth of the the river Hamara at 9am (Clare Gray).
There were a pair of golden eagles putting on an aerial display above the top road in Ferinquarrie at mid-day. They were very low and unusually near to the houses, giving spectacular, close views.
An update from Mairi Fawkes (per skye-birds.com) that the crested tit is still visiting her garden at Fasach.
There was a barn owl hunting beside the Borrodale to Upper Milovaig Road at around 6pm.
Roads around Glendale were still lethally icy. The brae was not for the faint-hearted but was passable! There was no snow in Glendale but there are big accumulations East of Dunvegan through to Portree, with over 10cm between Fairy Bridge and Greshornish.
There was a lapwing at Waterstein and a good count of 12 curlews beside Loch Mor (Kathy Lindsley).
It was lethally icy on the roads around Glendale. I managed to spin the car through 180° trying to get out of Milovaig.
Glendale awoke to 3-4cm of snow and it was still snowing at 8:30am. n.b. This is ordinarily a wildlife blog but the wildlife is suffering badly with this cold winter, so nothing to report.
There were snow showers throughout the day and by dusk there was 2-3cm of powder snow lying on the ground.
There was a thin covering of snow in Glendale at dawn and roads were extremely icy for the morning commute but it all melted very quickly.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew down the allt mhor burn at Milovaig, across Loch Pooltiel to Scorr Farm and then followed the cliffs around to Dunvegan Head, early afternoon.
A white-tailed eagle flew low over croft 2 Lower Milovaig, across the white beach and over to Pollosgan at around 8:45am.
A very happy New Year to all the regular readers of this blog!