Monday, 16 June 2008

Gigha birds (2008)

Message to argyllbirding yahoogroup:

Subject: Holiday sightings, wk 7-14 June - Gigha
Sent: Jun 16, 2008 1:03 am

Hi all

Just back from another pleasant holiday in Argyll, this time on Gigha (first visit). During trip also completed TTV's for the 4 required squares on the island (NR64J,N,P; NR65K), and gathered RR's in all other land tetrads (11) except S of Cara Island (not visited). Did not visit every last corner but decent coverage averaging 8 hrs/day, concentrated in early morning plus two nocturnal visits. Confirmed breeding of 34 species, 22 probable breeders and total 81 species
seen. Nothing rare but a few comments on observations in case of any interest locally:

* Cormorant confirmed at Craro with at least 6 AOS, Shag 17 AOS; Cormorant also at Eilean Garbh colony [cf. last BTO atlas, 88-91 - no records for these 2 10km sqr]
* Grey Heron confirmed at Mill Loch
* At least 40 Greylags present but no goslings seen [cf. single "possible breeder" dot for last atlas]
* 5 Lapwing with one chick West Tarbert Bay
* Single Greenshank briefly at Eun Eilean on 10/6
* 3 large gulls confirmed at Eilean Garbh, AOS: 69 HG, 64 LBB, 5 GBB on SE slope and probably lots more in total
* 4 Arctic Tern and BHG in the gull colony at Ardminish Point but no Common Terns seen
* Barn Owls seen hunting rough ground SE of Achamore Gardens and 2 more plus an "owl sp." along road N from Tarbert to Kinerarach
* House Martins at Mill Loch and Ardminish with at least 8 and 2 nests respectively
* 6 male Blackcap at Achamore Gardens, where also single Chiffchaff and Spot Fly, plus Treecreeper confirmed with probably several pairs and LTT family; a gardener said the last Golden Pheasant (photo online for 2004, and "possible breeder" in last atlas) is no more
* At least one family of 6 Raven roaming around, but far too late to confirm breeding

Generally healthy populations of Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Stonechat and Redpoll, but no Grey Wag, Wheatear, Mistle Thrush or Yellowhammer seen anywhere; all of the latter are mentioned in the Vie Tulloch guide, along with Corncrake and Corn Bunting, but this is now out-of-date (1988). Hopefully some of these will still be confirmed by those with better local knowledge.

Non-avian: Otters - watched a pair at close range playing in shallows near Eun Eilean for 20 mins early on 10/6. Plenty Pipistrelle, 10+ at village hall and more all along main road. Finally, whilst sea-watching off N end on 10/6 saw a Basking Shark moving W not far offshore.



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