Find out what's around in Glendale, Isle of Skye, with our regularly updated wildlife sighting and nature reports.
If you see any interesting or unusual wildlife in the Glendale area, please or give Andy a call on (01470) 511354.
For the very latest information about recent bird sightings on the Isle of Skye, please visit Bob McMillan's excellent Skye Birds web-site.
I have set up a Facebook page, Glendale Skye Auroras, to provide alerts and information about sightings of the Northern Lights in Glendale, as we are now at the peak of solar activity and likely to see regular auroras in 2012 and 2013.
Click the "like" button above if you want to receive regular updates and remember to "share" with your friends.
See photos of every aurora borealis in Glendale since Autumn 2011 here.
There was a small group of three great northern divers on Loch Pooltiel, opposite Traigh Ban, late morning and also two red-throated divers on the Loch.
There was a female otter playing with two cubs along the shoreline of Traigh Ban at Milovaig at 12:30pm.
There were 36 occupied fulmar nest sites at Neist Point today, a single red-throated diver and a single winter-plumage black guillemot in Moonen Bay and four winter-plumage razorbills off-shore at Neist Point. A sub-adult white-tailed eagle flew over the car park area at Neist at around 12:45pm and headed down towards Ramasaig.
There were 9 goldeneye, 2 female tufted ducks and a male goosander on Loch Mor.
There is a first winter Iceland Gull with the herring gulls that roost on the white beach at Lower Milovaig. Also seen at the pier at mid-day.
There was a pod of 3 killer whales (orcas) off Galtrigill, mid morning (Ian McLean & Robert Pancic).
Glendale is currently being battered by another storm, with winds gusting up to 75 mph at 10:30am.
There is still a grey wagtail on the top road in Upper Milovaig.
Glendale was battered by a storm this morning, with wind speeds in excess of 90 mph several times from 4pm onwards, reaching a peak of 102 mph at 6am.
A white-tailed eagle flew at roof-top height below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at around 3pm, heading towards Upper Milovaig, where it was joined by a second bird that was flying much higher.
There was a flock of 100 redwings at Borrodale School, mid-afternoon.
The late female blackcap is still visiting the garden and bird feeder at Lephin Cottage.
A late female blackcap briefly visited the bird table at Lephin Cottage at mid-day.
There was a woodcock circling around croft 2 Lephin at dusk for the first time this winter.
The mountains on the Western Isles were white with snow today for the first time this winter.
A group of 12 waxwings flew across the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at 7:45am and headed up towards the top road in Lower Milovaig.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew at telegraph pole height over croft 2 Lephin, just behind Lephin Cottage and the Post Office, and on to Hamara Parks at around 8am.
Two adult white-tailed eagles skimmed along the ridge at the top of the Lephin crofts at 7:45am, heading towards Hamaraverin. They were then seen again over Borrodale School at 12:45am from where they headed over to Lower Milovaig and on to Meanish Pier.
Andy Harding, who regular traps moths on his visits to Glendale, has had two of his finds confirmed by the top Scottish experts as 'Arran Carpet' moths. This is the first time that this species has ever been recorded on the Isle of Skye. The species is found in the Uists, so presumably it has travelled across the Minch and begun to breed in Glendale.
2014 Glendale Calendar - £11.99 (+ £4.50 UK P&P)
*** ANOTHER CHANCE ***
Due to over-whelming demand, I am going to order a second print run of my calendars.
They are printed on top quality paper, 11" x 8.5", opening out to 11" by 17" and spiro-bound in the middle. They are priced at £11.99 each. UK Postage & packing will be £4.50 for up to 3 calendars sent to a single address.
If you would like one send me an email, so that I can send you a paypal invoice. I need to receive your payment by mid-day on Friday November 8th, 2013.
The calendars should be with you by the end of the month.
There was a white-tailed eagle over the B884 at Skinidin just before 8am heading towards Uiginish.
There was a fairly strong aurora borealis from 6:20pm until around midnight, with a peak from around 9:30pm till 10pm, when there were a number of columns and rays. It was visible by eye in white.
A flock of 14 whooper swans flew West over Loch Pooltiel at 4pm.
There was a small group of seven whooper swans at the head of Loch Dunvegan, near the Water Pumping Station on the B844, at dawn.
A white-tailed eagle flew over Upper Milovaig at around 5:15pm and onwards to Dunvegan Head.
There was a late red admiral butterfly on the wing at 2 Lower Milovaig taking nectar from escalonia flowers in the garden.
There was a basking shark at Neist Point (Janet Evans & Robin Beckham).
There was another beautiful aurora borealis that began around 8:15pm and continued throughout the night. It was particularly bright from 9:30pm until around 10:10pm when it was visible in colour to the naked eye.
There was a flock of 60+ fieldfares over croft 2 Lephin that headed towards Ferinquarrie, late morning.
There was a grey wagtail in the drain on the top road in Upper Milovaig at mid-day. There were four stonechats below the top road in Upper Milovaig. An adult white-tailed eagle was circling low over the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 12:15pm that made its way gradually down over Loch Pooltiel.
There was a flock of 21 fieldfares over croft 2 Lephin at 7:30am.
At least three redwings back in the Hampson's garden at 1 Lower Milovaig this morning and an increased number of blackbirds. There were four fieldfares on croft 2 Lephin, mid morning.
Temperatures plunged to +2 degrees this morning and there was a widespread ground frost in Glendale.
The brightest aurora for decades was experienced tonight in Glendale with an aurora visible in colour by eye in green, purple and red from 9:30pm onwards.
There is still a stonechat and there was a late group of 6 twites on croft 14 Lower Milovaig, late morning.
There was a group of 4 stonechats at Ferinquarrie, late morning.
There was a strong aurora borealis being detected on camera and visible by eye in white from 9:40pm onwards, through gaps in the cloud.
There was a stonechat at Meanish Pier and a group of five stonechats on the upper shore of croft 15 Lower Milovaig at mid-day. There were two goldcrests in MacDougal's Spruces at mid-day.
There were two immature white-tailed eagles talon grappling and soaring very low over the road at the top end of Loch Mor in the afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a small basking shark on the Moonen Bay side of Neist Point from 4:30pm to 5pm (Gabrielle Prior).
There was a small basking shark in the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, opposite the pier, mid afternoon, that spent most of its time submerged but provided a couple of glimpses (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was an immature white-tailed eagle circling out to sea off Meanish Pier, mid afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a late willow warbler on top road on croft 14 Lower Milovaig at mid-day and a flock of 35 goldfinches on the adjacent croft 13. There was a group of six stonechats on the top road in Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There was an otter fishing the shoreline in Galtrigill Bay, mid afternoon.
There was a male red-breasted merganser off the white beach at Lower Milovaig, early morning, our first of this winter.
There was a male stonechat beside the road at Hamara Parks, early morning.
There was a group of three stonechats at Borreraig Parks, mid afternoon.
There were two minke whales operating between 20m and 30m of the shore at Neist from 4pm until 4:45pm (A&AS). Another minke whale, or one of the same, was there between 7:30pm and 7:45pm in the bay on the right, immediately down the steps (Chris Bird, Alison Stables).
There were three harbour porpoises and a minke whale at the mouth of Loch Pooltiel at 11am (Chris Bird). There was a basking shark close to the shore and three common dolphins at An Ceannaich on the Milovaig Grazings (Chris Bird). There was a second basking shark at Oisgill Bay (Chris Bird).
There was a merlin, two northern race wheatears and a white wagtail at Neist Point, mid afternoon.
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle at An Ceannaich on the Milovaig Grazings that came off the cliff and chased a gannet 200-300m out to sea until the gannet ditched into the water. It then returned along the cliff edge towards Lower Milovaig (Chris Bird).
There were two harbour porpoises inside the mouth of Loch Pooltiel at 12:15pm (Alison Stables).
The first two whooper swans of the winter were heading South over Loch Pooltiel this evening.
There were two skylarks below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, late afternoon.
There was a flock of 16 pale-bellied brent geese off the white beach at Lower Milovaig from dawn until at least 9am, that must have been brought down by the rain storm overnight.
There were two adult white-tailed eagles near hovering and attempting to land at Hamaraverin but being chased off by hoodies at around 5:30pm. They headed off over Loch Pooltiel.
47.5 mm of rain fell on Glendale between 1am and 8am, causing some spectacular flooding by 7:30am. All burns and rivers had exploded their banks. The park opposite the community hall has flooded and the cemetery was almost completely surrounded by water. Wind gusts peaked at 60mph in Milovaig.
There was a single minke whale around 200m off-shore at Neist between 12:30am and 1:30pm (Barry Glover).
There was a weak aurora borealis being detected on camera at around 10pm.
The aurora borealis was being detected on camera tonight from 9:50pm onwards.
There was a basking shark close to the shore at Meanish Pier from 2:30pm to 3:30pm (Carol & Paul Florin).
There was a single basking shark on the Moonen Bay side of Neist Point, hugging the rocks, between 11:30am and 12pm and a male killer whale (orca) headed North past Neist Point shortly afterwards (Mark Greig). The HWDT were unable to positively identify this orca but, due a sighting of three identifiable orcas at MacLeod's Maidens the same day, they believe this to be either Aquarius or Comet.
There were three basking sharks at Neist Point at around 10:30am, with one very close to the shore (Anthony Robson).
There was a single white wagtail on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a late wheatear at Upper Milovaig. late afternoon.
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle over the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 4:45pm.
There was a minke whale off Neist Point for around an hour at 4pm (Carol & Paul Florin).
Glendale experienced its first taste of autumn this morning, with a ground frost at Lephin and temperatures down to 2°C.
There was a single minke whale in Ramasaig Bay between 7:30pm and 8:30pm.
There was a flock of 30 twites and a group of 6 skylarks at Ramasaig Bay.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle very low over Silverdale, Colbost at 7:50am.
A sub-adult white-tailed eagle flew over Beinn Bhuidhe, Upper Milovaig, across Loch Pooltiel onto the far end of Scorr Farm just after 9am. This bird has a distinctive white base to its tail with a wide, brown terminal band.
There was a male northern race wheatear at Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a single grey wagtail on the alt mor burn, Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There were two orcas steamed past Neist Point at 4:30pm, heading North, and there were two basking sharks there (Sarah Harris, per skye-birds.com).
There were nine basking sharks clearly visible from Meanish Pier for over an hour this afternoon, at least six came into Loch Pooltiel by the big waterfall and another 20-foot youngster was level with the pier, giving close views from the shore (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a spectacular aurora borealis over Glendale from 10:15pm onwards last night and through into this morning. It was greenish white by eye, with spectacular rays and columns particularly towards midnight onwards.
There was a white-tailed eagle flying low by the B884 twin-track at the Water Treatment Plant near Dunvegan at 8:15am (Alison Stables).
There were two white-tailed eagles circling over the brae between Fasach and Skye Silver at 5:50pm.
There was a juvenile peregrine falcon, one of this year's fledglings, over Glashein being mobbed by a hoodie (Donald Shields).
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle over the Ferinquarrie Grazings (Donald Shields).
There were three basking sharks at Neist Point this afternoon approaching within a few metres of the shore (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a pod of 6 or 7 common dolphins in Loch Dunvegan off Colbost in the afternoon (Astrid Van Eybergen). Astrid managed to capture this video footage.
There was a pod of six bottle-nosed dolphins well inside Loch Pooltiel, working the area between the Moyra Jane, the white beach and the black beach from 5:50pm until 6:35pm when they headed back out into the Minch.
There was a report of an unspecified number of harbour porpoises opposite the Three Chimneys at Colbost today (per the Three Chimneys FB Page).
There was a weak aurora borealis being detected on camera, low to the horizon, at 00:30 hours (our 2nd aurora of the season) and also a faint moonbow.
Most of the wheatears have gone now and migrants are passing through on their way south. There was an adult pair of northern race wheatears leucoroa on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, mid afternoon and a couple of juveniles of the nominate race on the top road in Lower Milovaig.
There was a pair of white-tailed eagles extremely low over the B884 at Fasach just before 8am.
There were four common terns over the Kinloch/Glendale road at Dunvegan at 8am that headed overland towards Orbost.
There were two adults and at least two juvenile stonechats at the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, late morning.
There was a single minke whale and a pod of nine harbour porpoises off Biod Ban on the Milovaig Grazings (Sarah Harris).
A report has just come in of a pod of three killer whales (orcas) off Neist Point on the morning of July 31st, 2013 (Karen Milne).
Karen also filmed the orcas and you can view the fantastic footage on YouTube.
There was a glimpse of the aurora borealis in the skies over Glendale in the early hours of this morning. The earliest ever start to the aurora-watching season here in Glendale.
If you enjoy seeing the beautiful landscapes of Glendale, you might like the new GlendaleSkye.com Facebook Page, where Andy is posting up his photographs of the stunning scenery in this part of the Isle of Skye:
There were three common terns feeding around the skerries in Loch Pooltiel at around 10:45am. The gannets are starting to migrate south now, with around 200 per hour streaming down the Minch past the seaward end of the Milovaig loop all morning. The wheatears are also starting to head away now, with just a dozen remaining around the Milovaig loop today.
There were three pearl-bordered fritillaries and a common blue butterfly feeding on the wild-flowers opposite MacDougall's Spruces, mid morning.
There were two possibly three minke whales approaching within 50m of Neist Point (Sarah Harris).
A mixed flock of dunlins and ringed plovers flew past Neist Point (Sarah Harris).
This report on the moths of Glendale and the accompanying photographs were very kindly sent in by Andy Harding:
I made a second trip to Glendale this year ...from July 8th to 16th. The weather was mainly good and on only one night was I unable to set the moth trap. So on most mornings I took a large box down close to the Post Office and released the bulk of the moths. A few I retained for an hour or so to photograph and I took those down to the same area...as well as doing a bit of shopping...a little later. Several people stopped to look at what I was doing and were amazed at the variety and beauty of the moths. One moth which didn’t enter the trap was the Chimney Sweeper. This is a very attractive day-flying moth and several could be seen on the roadside just above the Post Office. This trip was about a month later than last year's, so while there was some overlap in species, there were a good many additions to my 'Glendale list'.
The 'new' species seen were as follows..
Small Fan-footed Wave
Large Yellow Underwing
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
True Lover’s Knot
Small Square Spot
Small Dotted Buff
Scarce Silver Y
There are also a couple of difficult (for me) species to be identified. There are colour forms, and sometimes subspecies, of some species which look quite different in northern Scotland compared with what I am used to down south, which doesn’t help. However with the help of the moth recorder for Skye and a couple of other Scots moth enthusiasts, I’ll sort those out in due course.
There was a pod of 10 to 20 common dolphins in the mouth of Loch Pooltiel that approached to within 20 yards of Meanish, close enough to hear them blowing, at around 10pm.
There were two juvenile white-tailed eagles just West of the Scoval masts again today, chased off by a golden eagle (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
Between 2pm and 3pm there were two minke whales off Neist, one coming very close to shore, and two harbour porpoises passed by (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A bonxie flew out of Loch Pooltiel, past the Meanish Pier, at 1pm and there were two juvenile white-tailed eagles circling with a golden eagle around Scoval masts, with a third juvenile white-tailed eagle circling over the sea off Meanish Pier (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There were eight common terns at Eilean na h-Eigheach, Skinidin showing signs of agitated behaviour, early afternoon.
A pair of white-tailed eagles was circling very low over the B884 at the Ramasaig turn at 7:40am and gradually drifted down to the White Beach at Lower Milovaig before heading off towards Waterstein.
There was a common blue butterfly on croft 2 Lephin in the afternoon. These are very scarce in Glendale.
We've had an extraordinary heatwave in Glendale over the last few days, with temperatures hitting a massive 23.2°C yesterday and 21.8°C today.
There was a late cuckoo on wires at Lephin, all morning.
There was a bonxie sitting on a sand spit at the mouth of the Hamara River, mid morning (Clare Gray).
There was a late cuckoo at Upper Milovaig, mid-day.
There were three harbour porpoises off Meanish Pier in the afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There were three harbour porpoises off Neist Point in the afternoon and three common dolphins far out to sea there (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There were three arctic skuas off Neist Point in the afternoon, two pale morphs and a dark morph. Also, three bonxies and around 500+ manx shearwaters close inshore (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A butterfly orchid is in bloom in the garden at 15/16 Upper Milovaig (Clare Gray). This is the first known record of this species in the Milovaig townships.
A beautiful pair of roe deer were photographed in the road at MacDougall's Spruces in Lower Milovaig at around 8pm (Brian Smith). Not only is this a first ever record of deer at this location but it is also the first known sighting of roe deer in the glen.
There was a beautiful display of noctilucent cloud from around 1am until at least 2am.
This is a lovely photograph of the pod of killer whales that were spotted off Neist Point on June 16th by Sarah Harris et al. Some of the animals were recognised individuals, known to the HWDT. Click here for more details.
The whinchats that were nesting between Lephin and Hamara Lodge successfully fledged 4 young today. The family were feeding on the croft at 2 Lephin, early evening.
There was a bonxie inland, heading up croft 12 Upper Milovaig towards Waterstein, late afternoon.
Three arctic skuas were seen heading North during a short seawatch at Neist Point (per skye-birds.com).
A single minke whale was close inshore at Neist Point for 20 minutes in the afternoon and a small pod of six common dolphins was seen briefly far out off-shore (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a single woodpigeon feeding beside the bottom road in Lower Milovaig. These are very scarce visitors to Milovaig, with only a few sightings each year.
There were c. 1000 manx shearwaters far out off Neist in the afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A bonxie flew at roof-top height along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, heading towards the pier, at 11am.
There has been a report of a corncrake calling during daylight hours in the Glendale area (per Shelagh Parlane).
There were 3 common dolphins breaching and splashing, at least 1 (maybe 3) minke whales and a pod of three harbour porpoises close in to shore at Neist Point between 9:30pm and 10:30pm.
There was a small pod of 10 common dolphins actively hunting a shoal of fish off Neist Point in the day, accompanied by gannets and cormorants, all making a commotion off-shore (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A pod of four orcas (killer whales) was seen at Neist Point this afternoon (per skye-birds.com).
There was some late arrival of hirundines today with two swifts on the top road in Lower Milovaig, late morning, that were drifting North (the first record of this species in Glendale since 2009) and a pair of house martins that were busily constructing a nest on 'Hillside View' Cottage on the top road in Upper Milovaig.
An adult white tailed eagle drifted North along the top road in Lower Milovaig, late morning.
There was a tawny owl perched openly on a fence beside the road between Hamara Lodge and Lephin at 11pm, a time when it was still very light.
There was a small pod of three harbour porpoises off Neist Point in the afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours). The minke whales currently appear to have moved on, with no sightings reported this week.
There was a late great northern diver off Meanish Pier at mid-day (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was raft of c.60 manx shearwaters on the sea off Neist Point in the afternoon that headed off to the North (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a beautiful display of noctilucent cloud between 1am and 1:30am.
For more photos of the night sky in Glendale visit : https://www.facebook.com/GlendaleSkyeAuroras and https://www.facebook.com/andrew.stables.94
There were two arctic skuas in the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, late morning.
There were two minke whales close inshore at Neist this afternoon and a third far out but clearly visible in the calm waters (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There were three bonxies at Neist Point this afternoon, that came in off the sea (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a pair of golden plovers in breeding territory on the Ramasaig Cliffs.
There was a pod of 12+ harbour porpoises off Neist Point in the morning (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A minke whale was viewed off Meanish Pier in the morning (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A late, singing male chiffchaff has arrived in the garden at 1 Lower Milovaig.
There was a report of a ring ouzel on MacLeod's Table South (per skye-birds.com).
There was at least one minke whale far off shore at Neist Point (Will Ward).
Two bonxies came in from the Minch at around 11:30am and did a circuit of Loch Pooltiel.
There are still reports coming in of redpolls visiting bird feeders this spring, which appears to indicate a problem with their normal food source. Though these are common breeding birds in Glendale, they rarely come to bird feeders but this spring they have been regularly visiting the feeders at Lephin Cottage, 2 Lower Milovaig and now Sue & Mike Mansell's house at Ferinquarrie.
The first house sparrows have been fledging in Glendale over the last day or so and all the other common species are due to fledge imminently.
There were 5 minke whales off Neist Point this afternoon, with four coming within 20m of the shore (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
A single long-tailed skua went North at Neist Point and there was a single puffin well off-shore in the afternoon (Andy McLean).
The midges are just beginning to bite now.
There was a minke whale showing well off Neist Point in the afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
Our summering bonxie duo were putting on a good display at Neist Point in the afternoon (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
There was a group of 8 sub-adult black-headed gulls feeding at the shore at Meanish Pier at 11pm.
There were a pair of stonechats near Skye Silver and a male little grebe on the Galtrigill Lochan, early afternoon.
There was a pair of stonechats by the Hamara River at the Fasach Road End.
There was a pair of stonechats at Cadha Ramasgeir at 9:30pm (Kathy Lindsley).
There were c.12 harbour porpoises off Cadha Ramasgeir on the Lower Milovaig grazings at 9:30pm (Kathy Lindsley) .
There were two white-tailed eagles on the Ramasaig road at 8pm (Rebecca Smith).
There was a merlin over Upper Milovaig at 2pm (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
Winter returned to Skye this morning with temperatures down to 3.5°C in Glendale and fresh snow falls on the Storr and Cuillins.
There was a minke whale off Neist Point (Rebecca Smith).
A minke whale and a porpoise were seen off Neist Point (Andy McLean - Skye Wildlife Tours).
The first whinchat, a male, was back and singing in the estate scrub between Lephin and Hamara Lodge.
There was a minke whale at Neist Point (Rebecca Smith).
The first sedge warbler was back and singing all day on croft 3 Lephin.
There was a record count of 30 grey seals on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel today (Steve & Julie Carter).
The first early purple orchid has come into bloom at the boatshed on the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, which is almost three weeks later than last year, and the first bluebells are starting to push through in sheltered spots.
There first basking shark of the season and a minke whale were seen off Neist Point in the morning (Bob McMillan).
A seawatch at Neist Point from 0800 to 1200 hours produced 28 pomarine skuas, a group of 4 long-tailed skuas, 2 arctic skuas and 15 whimbrels (Bob McMillan).
There was a report of a Leach's petrel, 13 pomarine skuas, 2 arctic skuas and 4 bonxies during a 1.5 hour seawatch at Neist Point (per skye-birds.com).
Temperatures plunged to 3.8°C overnight and there were heavy showers of sleet and hail, which started at around 10:30pm yesterday night and continued into this morning.
There have been redpolls, linnets, siskins and a male reed bunting visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage all week (T&E Bishop, A&AS). It is very unusual for redpolls to visit feeders, although linnets and reed buntings regularly use them when other sources of food are scarce.
There was a male brambling visiting the bird feeders at Mairi Fawkes's house in Fasach today. This only the 2nd known record of this species in Glendale and is an extremely late date for one to still be here (per Bob McMillan).
A whimbrel was flying up and down below the bottom road throughout Milovaig tittering loudly at around 5pm, before heading out into the Minch.
Cuckoos were back and calling at Lephin and Holmisdale this evening.
There was a cuckoo calling at Hamaraverin at 7:30am. They've been extremely scarce this spring and this is only the second report (Clare Gray). There was also another report from Upper Milovaig in the morning (Andrea Cross), possibly the same bird.
There was a pair of redpolls visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage (T&E Bishop). Although this is a common breeding species in Glendale, it is extremely unusual for them to visit bird feeders and is indicative that birds are struggling for food this spring due to the prolonged cold spell.
Andy Harding set a moth trap again on May 1st and captured a pine beauty, which is only the third ever record of this species on the Isle of Skye, together with 10 hebrew characters, 2 clouded drabs and a common quaker.
There were three pale-bellied brent geese on the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 7:30am, our first record of this species since 2009.
There was a white wagtail at Meanish Pier (T&E Bishop).
There was a female blackcap and a male reed bunting visiting the bird feeders at Lephin Cottage (T&E Bishop).
There was a single whimbrel by the water treatment plant on the Dunvegan-Skinidin road (T&E Bishop).
There was a report of two barnacle geese on the sheep parks at Waterstein (per skye-birds.com).
There were two minke whales close in-shore at Neist Point in the morning (RMcM, MB, SH).
The 'Skye-Birds' team (RMcM, MB & SH) got an impressive haul of sightings at Neist Point during a 3-hour seawatch this morning including: 4 purple sandpipers, 5 whimbrels, 7 bonxies, 2 great northern and 2 red-throated divers, a flock of 46 barnacle geese, over 1000+ kittiwakes and good numbers of puffins, manx shearwaters and auks.
There was a male blackcap on feeders at the Dunvegan Hotel (per skye-birds.com).
There was a great northern diver off Meanish Pier, early afternoon (T&E Bishop).
There was a cracking female merlin hunting meadow pipits along the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 8am.
There was a late redwing in full song this afternoon on croft 2 Lephin.
The first minke whale of the year was seen off the Lower Milovaig grazings (Rachel Atherton).
There were still two late redwings at Lephin this morning.
There was a single redwing at Neist Point (Rachel Atherton).
A very cold night in Glendale with temperatures down to around 2.5°C and there was snow on the Cuillins, Trotternish Ridge and Storr in the morning.
A male grasshopper warbler was back and reeling briefly at Lephin at 7:50am.
The first returning pair of redpolls were back at Lephin at 7:50am.
There were two white wagtails at the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, late morning.
First report of a cuckoo in Glendale today from Ferinquarrie (Sue & Mike Mansell).
The temperature plunged to +3.5°C before dawn and the Western Isles were white with snow this morning, although the closest Glendale got to wintery showers was a few hail storms.
The first two common sandpipers were back at Lower Milovaig.
A steady stream of meadow pipits was coming in off the sea at Lower Milovaig this morning from dawn until 10:30am, and travelling south along the bottom road, at around 50-60 birds per hour, in groups of 4 to 8 indivduals. A group of 8 was watched actually coming in off the sea, possibly from North Uist or Harris. There were also 200-300 mipits on the ground around the Milovaig loop, again in small groups of 4 to 20.
The first willow warblers were back in Glendale today, with two singing males at Lephin and another in MacDougal's Spruces, near Meanish Pier. There are still small numbers of redwings around with individual males in full song at Lephin and Milovaig. There was a singing male wheatear back on croft 2 Lephin today and most territories around Milovaig now have singing males.
Another swallow was back catching sand flies over the shoreline near Meanish Pier at 1pm.
Winter thrushes are still moving through, with a flock of six fieldfares and around a dozen redwings singing en masse at 3 Lephin at 7:45am.
The first two swallows of the year were in their garden at Ferinquarrie (Mike & Sue Mansell).
The first returning twite of the spring was on the top road in Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a male blackcap in their garden at Ferinquarrie (Mike & Sue Mansell).
The first returning siskins of the spring, a pair, were back at 2 Lower Milovaig today.
Migrants are flooding in now. There are at least 7 wheatears in Lower Milovaig and at least 9 in Upper Milovaig. There are small flocks of redwings, meadow pipits and pied wagtails all over Milovaig, Hamaraverin and Lephin and increased numbers of blackbirds.
There was a female merlin at An Acarsaid, Upper Milovaig in the afternoon (Gordon McCracken).
The first primroses were in bloom beside the road on the slope down to Meanish Pier, which is almost four weeks later than last year.
The first white-tailed bumble-bees were on the wing in Milovaig today, taking nectar from flowering currants.
It was snowing in Glendale from sunrise onwards, big, fluffy flakes but only settling down to around 150m amsl.
The birds are on the move now that the weather has turned:
There are six male wheatears in Upper Milovaig, with four outside the Lighthouse Keeper's cottage (including one singing male) and two dotted along the bottom road.
Decent numbers of redwings came in at Lower Milovaig overnight, with flocks of 20+ around Kathy's on the top road, 12+ in the spruces at 2 Lower Milovaig and other penny numbers in gardens. Redwings are singing en masse in the trees and also individuals are in full song in the gardens.
Groups of meadow pipits are also starting to come in, with a flock of 14 yesterday evening on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig and other groups of up to 8 around the Milovaig loop today. There was a flock of 30 on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 6pm.
A faint aurora was picking up on camera just after midnight.
There was a male wheatear below the bottom road on croft 2 Upper Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a tawny owl perching openly on a deer stob beside the road at Hamara Lodge at 7:15am that flew off into the walled garden there.
There was a single whooper swan, five goosanders and a pair of red-throated divers on Loch Mor, Waterstein at 6:30pm.
The first returning goldcrest of the spring was in MacDougal's Spruces at Lower Milovaig at 7pm.
There was a report of a male wheatear in Upper Milovaig (per skye-birds.com).
The comet 'Pan Starrs' was visible to the naked eye from around 10:15pm onwards. The tail is very large, around the size of the moon and the Andromeda Galaxy is also visible, sitting inside the tail of the comet.
More signs of spring passage, with a group of eight whooper swans heading North over Dunvegan at 8am.
A rare annual visitor to Milovaig this morning was a woodpigeon, seen at 7am. There was a white-tailed eagle circling over the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at mid-day. There was a pair of redwings back at 2 Lower Milovaig, late afternoon, which is a sure sign that return passage is underway.
After several unsuccessful attempts, the comet Pan Starrs was eventually photographed last night in Lower Milovaig. The comet is at one o'clock to the third telegraph pole in front of the house.
There was an adult white-tailed eagle patrolling the cliff tops along Scorr Farm, late morning. There were a pair of eiders between the white beach and skerries at Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle circling over the top road in Upper Milovaig, late morning.
Crazy temperatures in Glendale last night, after several days with overnight frost it plummeted to -6.3°C in the small hours of this morning.
The first returning linnet of the spring was back at Lower Milovaig, late afternoon.
Glendale experienced an aurora borealis, which was very variable in intensity from barely visible to the eye, to pale green to the eye, under crystal clear skies from 9pm onwards but peaking at around 11:20pm.
An adult white-tailed eagle flew over Loch Mor, Waterstein, late afternoon (Brian Smith).
Glendale experienced a beautiful, bright aurora borealis, which was visible through broken cloud from 8pm until around 11:30pm.
The buzzards are all back in their nesting territories and there were seven in the air simultaneously at Lephin at mid-day.
A gannet was back in Loch Pooltiel for the first time this spring, late afternoon.
There was a woodcock walking around in the trees at the entrance to the Community Hall, early afternoon, that took off onto croft 2 Lephin when disturbed.
The lesser celandines have all come into bloom this weekend at Glasphein and Ferinquarrie.
The first small tortoiseshell butterfly of the spring was on the wing at Ferinquarrie, early afternoon.
There was a singing male reed bunting in the garden at Lephin Cottage at around 7:15am.
There was a pair of lapwings displaying at Glasphein, mid morning.
The pied wagtails are back today, with singles at Fasach, Ferinquarrie, Pollosgan and Lephin.
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle circling above the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at around 3:30pm.
A stoat in three-quarters ermine was on the black beach road, late morning.
A white-tailed eagle flew over Lephin, Hamara Lodge, Pollosgan, Loch Pooltiel and across to Scorr Farm at 2pm.
The first two lesser black-backed gulls were back on the Estate parks between Lephin Church and Hamara Lodge at 7:00am.
Glendale escaped the snow, with just a thin covering on MacLeod's Tables. Borve and Portree were white with snow and there was a covering over the Trotternish Ridge and heavy falls on the Cuillins and the mountains of Western Isles.
There was an adult pair of white-tailed eagles soaring over MacLeod's Tables (Marco Antonio Tim).
Glendale experienced a weak aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 11pm and just discernable to the naked eye on a superb clear night.
There was a late frost in Glendale this morning, with temperatures just above zero and snow on the mountain tops out on the western isles. The day remained bitterly cold and there was even a brief snow shower at around 4pm for a few minutes.
More skylarks are returning. There was a single on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig and a small flock of 7 on the top road in Lower Milovaig, late morning.
A pair of lapwings were performing their display flight for the first time this spring at Hamaraverin, late morning.
The first pipistrelle bat was out of hibernation and on the wing at 2 Lower Milovaig at dusk.
Our pair of white-tailed eagles were seen again at Neist Point at around 8:30am (Marco Antonio Tim).
Our resident pair of white-tailed eagles flew over croft 5 Waterstein about 20 feet above the ground at around 4:30pm, giving spectacular close views (Brian Smith).
There was a woodcock in the garden at 1 Lower Milovaig at mid-day.
There is still a woodcock on croft 2 Lephin, which can be seen circling at dusk every evening.
Glendale experienced a bright aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 11pm until 11:10pm and glowing white to the naked eye. We were hampered by very heavy cloud and peering at the aurora through tiny gaps.
A juvenile white-tailed eagle flew over Neist Point, late morning, heading towards Oisgill. A single gannet flew North past Neist Point, mid-morning.
There were 15 shags on occupied nests, and bringing in nest materials, but only a single fulmar back on the nesting ledges, which is extremely late, given that we have seen the fulmars back, in full, as early as the last week in December in the past.
There were six goldeneyes on Loch Mor at mid-day.
An adult white-tailed eagle skimmed along the cliff-top over crofts 1, 2 and 3 Lephin heading towards Holmisdale at around 2:30pm.
At around 5:15pm, a juvenile white-tailed eagle came in low off the sea at Meanish Pier, then circled above the pier for around five minutes, gaining height, before heading across to Scoval and over towards Husabost.
The twites are back! There was a pair at Meanish Pier at 8:30am.
There was a golden eagle soaring high over Ferinquarrie at 11:40am.
There was a pair of bullfinches in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig at 7:40am. This is the first time that we have ever recorded bullfinches in Milovaig, so a very rare event indeed.
Our resident pair of white-tailed eagles were circling at roof-top height above the bottom road in Lower Milovaig, below Clach Ghlas, at around 6pm, before heading off towards the common grazings (Alison Stables).
The skylarks were in full song today at Waterstein (Brian Smith).
The first skylarks are back today! There were at least two pairs back on territories on croft 2 Lephin being very aerially active and vocal, although not singing yet. Then in the afternoon there was another skylark below the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
Glendale experienced a faint aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 7:50pm onwards and just discernable to the naked eye from 8:40pm onwards. The show was over by 10pm.
A white-tailed eagle was viewed from the Ramasaig road (John & Daniela McCafferty).
There was a juvenile white-tailed eagle flying low along the B884 by the water treatment plant between Dunvegan and Uiginish at around 8:10am.
Interesting weather in Glendale throughout the day with showers of hail, sleet and snow propelled by winds gusting to 79 mph. Ouch!
There was a male and two female goosanders at Meanish Pier, early afternoon.
There was a woodcock circling over croft 2 Lephin at dusk.
There was a small family pod of three harbour porpoises off the seaward end of the Milovaig loop, mid-afternoon.
There were two, possibly three, dippers on the Hamara River by the Black Beach at 11:15am and a pair of goosanders on Loch Pooltiel there at the same time.
The mild winter has allowed the meadow pipits to return earlier than normal. There was a group of five meadow pipits above the road at Glasphein, late morning, and there were two on croft 2 Lephin yesterday.
There were three red-throated divers on Loch Pooltiel in the afternoon. The black guillemots have returned in good numbers now on Loch Pooltiel and have all moulted into their summer plumage this week.
There was a red deer grazing openly beside Helen & Paul Curtis's caravan at Ferinquarrie at around 11am.
Continuing the owl theme, there was a tawny owl in the trees behind Hamara Lodge at 7pm.
There was a beautiful barn owl sitting on a fence post beside the road behind Hamara Lodge at 7:15pm and there was a pair of them in the same place at 8:30pm (Anna Cleland).
Glendale was battered by a storm with winds gusting up to 100 mph at Lower Milovaig between 7pm and 8pm and reaching a peak of 102 mph at 9pm.
The snowdrops have come into bloom in the garden at 2 Lower Milovaig, which is 17 days later than last year.
Glendale experienced a faint aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 9pm onwards and just visible to the naked eye for a short period around 11:10pm.
There was a male and two female goldeneyes at Glendale Watermill at 9am (Clare Gray).
There was a beautiful merlin hunting along the bottom road in Upper Milovaig, heading towards Borrodale, at around 4pm.
There was a flock of c.30 turnstones at Lorgill Bay (per skye-birds.com).
Glendale experienced a faint aurora borealis, being detected on camera from 8pm onwards and only just visible to the naked eye.
There was a stonechat on the bottom road in Upper Milovaig at 11am.
Glendale experienced one of the best auroras of the last decade this evening, with colours vivid to the naked eye. The show began at dusk and peaked at around 6:35pm. The activity had faded significantly by 7pm and just a trace was being picked up on camera by 10pm.
Glendale escaped the snow this morning, just a covering on the top of MacLeod's Tables. Outside of Glendale there was snow on all the hill tops and the North-East side of the island was white, with 1 to 2cm around Borve and Portree.
There was a fairly bright aurora visible in the skies over Glendale from 8:40pm until around 9:30pm, as ever we were hampered by cloud to the North. Small columns could just be seen with the eye over Dunvegan Head. The colours were predominantly green and orange.
The woodcock is still at Lephin and was circling over croft 1 Lephin at dusk.
A woodcock was flushed on croft 2 Lephin at dusk.
An extremely weak aurora borealis was just glimpsed beneath the cloud at 11:35pm. The aurora was caused by a slightly elevated solar wind from a Coronal Hole High Speed Stream.
There were five goosanders (a male and four females) off the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 10:30am.
The male hen harrier is still hunting around Milovaig and was seen flying over the garden at 16 Upper Milovaig, in the direction of Pollosgan, at around 3:30pm.
Our resident adult white-tailed eagle actually landed on the shoreline of the white beach at Lower Milovaig at 9:45am and stayed there for 10 minutes, being harassed by the occasional gull, before heading around the shoreline towards Pollosgan. The composite photo, which shows our bird in context, enlarged and as it flew off, was taken from the bottom road in Lower Milovaig.
A cracking male hen harrier was flushed from the road-side on the bottom road in Lower Milovaig at 3:30pm, which made off towards the pier.
There were five lapwings back on the breeding grounds at Borrodale School (Clare Gray), which is extremely early.
There were a pair of red-breasted mergansers on Loch Dunvegan at Skinidin at mid-day.
A white-tailed eagle flew south-west over Dunvegan Woods at 11:30am.
Skyeweather.co.uk is reporting that North Skye had 29% less rainfall than normal in 2012, just 1000mm compared to an average of 1400mm. For more details, check out their new Facebook page at : http://www.facebook.com/isleofskyeweather.
Our sub-adult white-tailed eagle was circling low over Loch Pooltiel, off Meanish Pier, at 1:45pm before heading onto Dunvegan Head. More black guillemots are returning now, with three winter plumage birds back on Loch Pooltiel in the afternoon.
There were 9 curlews, 3 redshank, 1 little grebe, 7 goldeneye, 5 goosanders and a flock of 40 redwings at Loch Mor, Waterstein, in the morning.
There were 4 red deer stags and a hind grazing openly beside the B884 close to croft 14 Upper Milovaig at 9am.
A white-tailed eagle skimmed at almost ground level along the cliff at the top of crofts 3, 2 and 1 Lephin at 9am. It almost landed on croft 2 before continuing towards Hamaraverin.
There was a beautiful male stonechat on the top road in Lower Milovaig, early afternoon. There was a white-tailed eagle patrolling the cliffs on the Lower Milovaig Grazings at 1:30pm and later seen out over the sea across the mouth of Loch Pooltiel, before heading onto Dunvegan Head at 2:15pm.
Eighteen grey seals basking on the skerries in Loch Pooltiel this afternoon was the highest count for some time.
A very happy New Year to all the regular readers of this blog and a warm welcome to new visitors!