Monday, 20 July 2009

Gigha birds (2009)

Visited Gigha for our hols again this year, just off the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll (map).

A summary of sightings follows, with records of breeding evidence by tetrad in a linked spreadsheet.

Message to argyllbirding yahoogroup:

Subject: Holiday sightings, wk 11-18 July - Gigha, + 9-10 July - Lochawe
Sent: Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:41 am

Back on Gigha again for our holiday and doing more atlassing to supplement last year's records. Completed a further 4 TTV's (NR64I,M; NR65L,S) plus additional RR with a total of 96 "species" now recorded on island, 58 confirmed breeding (NR65 = N Gigha - 78 species, 42 confirmed; NR64 = S Gigha, plus some mainland - 100 species, 58 confirmed (figures updated)). Nothing remarkable recorded but got some useful info from locals, following perhaps of interest:

* Greylag Goose - now confirmed with 5 broods West Tarbert bay, plus Canada Goose b2 there (all new since last atlas)
* Shoveler - pr in spring near Ardlamy (per Keith Helm)
* RBM - b7 (small) Ardminish Bay (no juvs seen last yr)
* Manxie - steady passage off N end, 70/hr on 17/7, mainly up and down off W coast but some throo Sound of Gigha
* Cormorant - confirmed at the Brownie's Chair on Cara, along with many Shag
* Merlin - m glimpsed N end
* Eagle sp., 1/2 presumed Sea Eagle reported N end May 2007*
* Corncrake - bird calling by Keith Helm's cottage near the south Pier, then towards Leim, for 10 days in May; last year around same time in shelisters near Ardminish, and another 20-21 May 2006*; Vie Tulloch's booklet mentions their annual presence till summer 1987, then there was apparently one calling by the village hall c. 10 yrs ago, so this seems to represent a new upsurge
* Peacock - with chicks in Achamore gardens but are fed so don't count for atlas
* Greenshank - amongst a few returning waders (Mill Loch 12/7; Eilean Garbh 13/7), plus a Knot with Dunlins and Redshanks by south Pier 15/7
* Arctic Tern - juvs at Gigalum colony, nearly dispersed though apparently c. 30-40 "terns" present in spring
* Razorbill - steady procession bringing fish in off Eilean Garbh at N end but none seen on cliffs from boat round island, so can't confirm!
* Barn Owl(s) - again easy to find hunting N end, but no other owls detected in 3 nocturnal visits to woods
* Rock Pipit - one in farm yard at Tarbert, 300m from shore; also, in confirming breeding in NR65, observing small passerines on a skerry nearly a mile off N end, one started flying towards me and landed just yards in front of me, ad Ropit bearing a single crustacean prey, like an elongated woodlouse, for its young - very pleasing!
* Stonechat - decline, seen at 8 sites last June, not all covered again but just a single juv seen this time - casualties of a harder winter?
* Yellowhammer - one singing by Keith's cottage late April, but apparently no longer resident on island (in general)

Negative for Water Rail at bogs (used tape) - also former resident per Tulloch guide, and no sign of Magpie and Tree Sparrow submitted for NR64P (Ardminish) via BirdTrack since my last visit. The Pintail mentioned in the Tulloch guide are clearly LTD. May prepare an updated status doc for breeding birds based on above visits, unless there is such in existence?


* Deer bark heard in Achamore gardens, confirmed as deer by stamping following night, presumed Roe Deer. Various deer sightings discussed on Gigha forum*, mentioning Red, Roe and Fallow, since 2004; whichever, it must have swum over from the mainland, a good couple of miles at least.
* Dolphin sp. Sound of Gigha 15/7
* Common Blue butterfly, plus plenty Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Tort, abundant Meadow Brown
* Lots of sheep ticks! First one that bit me was large, thereafter on the alert and e.g. collected 20 on trousers in 10m of bracken.

En route did 4 TTV's in NN12 round Lochawe, see Lochawe birding post

Hope there's something of interest to someone there!





* Gropper - this year reeling by fish farm near South Druimachro; also at North Ardminish 2007, plus recently at another couple of sites in NR64
* Sand Martin - 2 in-off at Queen's beach, N end, 15/7, presumably from Jura
* Gannet - couple fishing in Loch Fyne off Furnace 18/7, guess regular here?
* Water Rail - reported winter 08/09 by farmer at Ardlamey (per Katie Pendreigh)
* Feral cat - confirmed breeding!

A few pics (ad Snipe - spotted by my wife right by road at Kinererach, ad Common Sand at Eilean a' Chuil, and worn ad Mipit):

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