Sightings in April 2012

March 30th 2012

BIRDS

Cuckoo – near Clachtoll, 26th April

Ring Ouzel – 2 pairs on scree slopes of Beinn Gharbh, 24th April.

Meadow Pipit – over 70 on grass at Clachtoll camp site, 22nd April

Cuckoo – Calling on road to Achiltibuie, 22nd April First record this year. Last year was 18th April.

Rook – 1 Elphin, 22nd April This single bird was in with the Jackdaw and is a very rare record for Assynt. The last rookery was on the wooded ‘island’ in Loch Drumbeg until it was shot out in the 1930’s.

Jackdaw – c37 Elphin, 22nd April

Siskin – 4 Stronchrubie, 22nd April

Black-throated Diver – 2 near Ardvreck Castle Loch Assynt, 22nd April

Mixed Gulls – c170 near fish farm Loch a’ Chairn Bhain, 22nd April This still included 3 immature Iceland Gulls

Osprey – 2 near Inveruplan, 21st April (GR) First Assynt record this year.

White Wagtail – 6 Bay of Culkein, 21st April Some passage birds feeding up on their way to Iceland.

Linnet – 5 (2 male 3 female) Stoer Cemetery, 21st April

Divers – 3 Red-throated; 1 Great Northern in breeding plumage and 1 Black-throated Bay of Stoer, 21st April

Moorhen – 1 Loch an Aigeil, 21st April

Black-throated Diver – 2 Loch Eileanach, 21st April A very small loch therefore not a breeding loch.

Red-breasted Merganser – 5 (3 male 2 female) Loch Nedd, 20th April

Snipe – 2 south of B869 overlooking Loch Ardbhair, 20th April These birds were found because of their chip-per chip-per vocal song as opposed to their aerial ‘drumming’ sound.

Teal – (Pair) Loch Borralan, 19th April

Siskin – on feeders Torbreck and Strathan, 19th April (GR/CC)

Sand Martin – 3 at sand banks on river near Ledmore Junction, 19th April (AS) First 2012 Assynt record.

Tufted Duck – 5 (3 male 2 female) Lochan Sgeireach Stoer, 19th April (IME)

Swallow – 1 Culkein Drumbeg, 19th April No sightings of larger numbers yet.

Whooper Swan – 2 (adults) Loch na Claise, 19th April

Lapwing – 12 Loch na Claise, 19th April

Chiffchaff – 1 Raffin, 19th April An odd location for this bird as it was feeding and preening on the footings of a disused sheep fank – no trees in sight!

Peregrine – 1 (immature) Raffin, 19th April

Black Guillemot – 27 seen in 120 degree arc from Stoer Head Lighthouse, 19th April

House Martin – 4 Nedd, 18th April (IME) First 2012 Assynt record.

Redwing – 15 football field Lochinver, 18th April (AS) Presumably these are birds from futher south passing north.

Merlin – 1 (female) near Brackloch, 18th April

Pink-footed Goose – c250 flying NW over Little Assynt, 18th April

Red Grouse – 2 (males) Little Assynt, 18th April

Lesser Redpoll – 2 (males) All Abilities Path, Little Assynt, 18th April

Reed Bunting -2 (a pair) near second shelter, All Abilities Path, Little Assynt, 18th April

Willow Warbler – at least 4 singing birds along All Abilities Path, Little Assynt, 18th April

Long-tailed Tit – 4 near Oldany Estuary, 17th April

Woodpigeon – 18 near Oldany Farm, 17th April

Iceland Gull – 1 (3rd winter) surface feeding with mixed gulls off Bay of Clachtoll, 16th April

Merlin – 1 (male) hunting near Clachtoll, 16th April

Red-throated Diver – 4 Loch Dhrombaig and Bay of Clachtoll, 16th April

Whimbrel – 1 seen and heard Oldany Estuary, 16th April

Shelduck – 2 (a pair) Oldany Estuary, 16th April

Pink-footed Goose – c350 heading WNW over Culkein Drumbeg, 16th April

Willow Warbler – 1 singing Culkein Drumbeg, 16th April Also several other singing birds at different locations on this date.

Eider – 11 (6 male 5 female) Culkein Drumbeg harbour, 16th April

Black-headed Gull – 10 (8 adult 2 1st winter) Clashnessie Bay, 15th April As with the sighting on the 13th these gulls were with the Kittiwake.

Kittiwake1000+ out from Clashnessie Bay towards Eilean Chrona A huge number of these gulls which were surface feeding and would every so often lift and fill the sky – superb. This number had reduced to c600 on 16th April.

Teal – 13 (8 male 5 female) Loch na Claise, 15th April

Whooper Swan – 3 adults Loch na Claise, 15th April Most likely the same three from the 10th, probably being held back by the northerly airflow which is holding up many migrants at the moment.

Tufted Duck – 4 (3 male 1 female) Loch na Claise, 15th April

Sparrowhawk – 1 (female) hunting through trees Culkein Drumbeg, 15th April

Great Skua – 1 Loch Dhrombaig, 14th April This bird was observed for around 40 minutes as it killed, by what looked like suffocation, an adult Herring Gull on the surface of the loch, proceeded to pluck it and then feed. All this took place on the water showing the immense power of these skuas.

Iceland Gull – 1 (3rd winter) Loch Dhrombaig, 14th April

Red-throated Diver – 3 Loch Dhrombaig, 14th April

Red Grouse – 2 (a pair) Culkein Drumbeg peat road, 14th April

Willow Warbler – 1 singing Culkein Drumbeg peat road, 14th April

Redwing – 2 Culkein Drumbeg peat road, 14th April

Shelduck – 1 (male) Oldany Estuary, 13th April

Gannet – 10 feeding Achmelvich Bay, 13th April Superb sight to see these magnificent birds diving from height in to the clear, blue water.

Swallow – 1 Achmelvich, 13th April

Pink-footed Goose – c150 flying NW over Achmelvich, 13th April

Willow Warbler – 1 singing Achmelvich Bridge, 13th April Could this be Assynt’s first of 2012?

Yellowhammer – 1 singing male Achmelvich Bridge, 13th April

Kittiwake – c195 ‘loafing’ off Bay of Culkein, 13th April There was one adult Black-headed Gull in with these Kittiwake.

Common Scoter – 1 (female) Bay of Culkein, 13th April

Purple Sandpiper – 3 Bay of Culkein, 13th April

House Sparrow – c40 ‘dust bathing’ Inver Park Lochinver, 11th April A really good count of sparrows and great to hear them.

Eider – c180 off Kylesku, 11th April

Greylag Goose – 50 flying SE between Kylesku bridge and Quinag, 11th April

Greenshank – 2 flying over Loch a’ Chairn Bhain, 11th April

Glaucous Gull – 2 Loch a’ Chairn Bhain, 11th April A few white-winged gulls are still around and spending their time at the fish farm near Eilean a’ Ghamhna.

Iceland Gull – 4 Loch a’ Chairn Bhain, 11th April

Red-throated Diver – 3 Balchladich Bay, 10th April

Barnacle Geese – 4 flying over Bay of Culkein, 10th April These birds were seen later the same day on Loch na Claise.

Turnstone – 10 Bay of Culkein, 10th April Several of these birds were starting to show breeding plumage on scapulars.

Red-throated Diver – 2 Loch Eileanach, 10th April

Reed Bunting – 3 in reeds Loch na Claise, 9th April

Whooper Swan – 3 adults Loch na Claise, 9th and 10th April

Great Skua – 1 flying NE past Stoer Head Lighthouse, 9th April then another single Culkein Drumbeg harbour 10th April

Kittiwake – c125 past Stoer Head Lighthouse in 10 minutes, 9th April

Fulmar – 37 on cliffs at Stoer Head Lighthouse, 9th April

Greenland White-fronted Goose – 8 (5 adults 3 immature) Culkein, 9th April There was also a single Pink-footed Goose with these white-fronts.

Linnet – 3 (1 male 2 female) Stoer Cemetery, 9th April

Mixed Gulls – flock of over 200 Bay of Stoer, 9th April This was made up of Common, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls all feeding from surface of water.

Pink-footed Goose – c150 flying NW past Clachtoll, 9th April These birds were only about 1 metre above surface of water flying across strong westerly side wind.

Twite – c30 Clachtoll, 9th April Four of these birds were colour ringed and two of those, from the combination of rings, were known to have been ringed in Orkney.

Red-throated Diver – 2 Loch Dhrombaig, 8th April

Great Northern Diver – 3 Loch Dhrombaig, 8th April

Goldfinch – 2 Culkein Drumbeg, 7th April

Black-throated Diver – 2 Loch Drumbeg, 6th, 10th and 14th April This was historically a breeding loch but has not been so for a long time, it is now most likely a ‘satellite’ feeding loch.

Little Grebe – 1 Loch na Claise, 6th April

Goldeneye – 3 (1 male 2 female) Loch na Claise, 6th April

Teal – 4 (1 male 3 female) Loch na Claise, 6th April

Black Guillemot – 4 Balchladich Bay, 6th April

Red-throated Diver – 5 Balchladich Bay, 6th April

Whooper Swan – 6 (3 adult 3 immature) Loch na Bruthaich, 6th April

Redwing – 5 Drumbeg, 5th April

Goldeneye – 3 (1 male 2 female) Loch Ruighean an Aitinn near Drumbeg, 5th April

Red-breasted Merganser – 5 (3 male 2 female) Loch Dhrombaig, 5th April

Eider – 9 (5 male 4 female) Culkein Drumbeg harbour, 4th April

Greenshank – 4 from Oldany Estuary to Culkein Drumbeg harbour, 4th April

Barnacle Goose – 35 over Oldany Island, 4th April

Common Gull – 78 on grass by Loch an Aigeil, 3rd April

Redshank – 5 on rocks Bay of Clachtoll, 3rd April

Red-throated Diver – 2 Bay of Clachtoll, 3rd April These two birds were going through some of their early pair bonding rituals.

Pink-footed Goose – 60 flying north-west over Lochinver, 3rd April

Siskin – 5 Culag Wood, 3rd April

Long-tailed Tit – 2 Culag Wood, 3rd April These two birds were gathering spiders webs for nest building.

Goosander – 2 (a pair) River Inver near Loch Druim Suardalain, 3rd April

Great Spotted Woodpecker – 1 (female) road to Glen Canisp Lodge, 3rd April

Eider – 6 (3 male 3 female) Lochinver Bay, 3rd April

Tufted Duck – 4 (3 males 1 female) Loch na Claise, 2nd April

Lapwing – c18 Loch na Claise, 2nd April

Fulmar – 107 on cliffs to south-east of Point of Stoer, 2nd April

Great Northern Diver – 2 Clashnessie Bay, 2nd April

Black Guillemot – 4 Clashnessie Bay, 2nd April

Stonechat – Pair near Strathcroy, 2nd and 15th April

Swallow – 1 Drumbeg, 2nd April (WG/TL) A very early record although Skye had a sighting over a week ago.

Redwing and Fieldfare – 8 and 4 Nedd, 2nd April (IME)

Great Skua – 1 past Stoer Head Lighthouse, 1st April (LS)

Great Northern Diver – 2 Loch Dhrombaig, 1st April

Pink-footed Goose – 100+ flying WNW over Culkein Drumbeg, 1st April Some of the pinks that flew SE on 14th September last year heading back to Iceland or Greenland to breed?
OTHERS

Otter – dog otter eating eels east end of Loch Nedd, 20th April

Harbour Porpoise – 2 off Stoer Head Lighthouse, 19th April

Small Tortoiseshell – 2 Clachtoll, 16th April

Pyramidal Bugle Ajuga pyramidalis – Several flowering spikes near Creag Liath, 15th April. This plant is a local speciality being scarce or rare elsewhere in Scotland. Photo on Gallery-Flowering Plants

Barren Strawberry Potentilla sterilis – 1 in flower near Achmelvich Bridge, 13th April This plant is called ‘barren’ as it produces dry, unstrawberry like fruits. It is scarce in Assynt. Photo on Gallery-Flowering Plants

Common Seal – 32 Culkein Drumbeg harbour,12th April

Harbour Porpoise – 1 off Stoer Head Lighthouse, 11th April (LS)

Common Dog Violet – several flowering Culkein Drumbeg, Oldany and Balchladich, 10th April

Harbour Porpoise – 2 Bay of Clachtoll, 9th April

Oil Beetle Meloe violaceus – male on track to Cnocnaneach, Glen Canisp, 3rd April

Common Seal – 27 Eilean Chrona, 2nd April

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Recent Sightings

Goosander

single female on River Inver opposite Little Assynt Tree Nursery (DAH) (11/12)

Dipper

four birds on River Inver opposite Little Assynt Tree Nursery (DAH). One bird could be seen, and heard, singing. (11/12)

Otter

two animals on the shore beside Church of Scotland, Lochinver (Gwen Richards) (11/12)

Whooper Swan

three birds feeding, Loch an Aigeil (DAH). Photo Gallery - Birds (10/12)

Dipper

single bird on Oldany River (DAH) (10/12)

Long-tailed Tit

6+ birds in trees, Glenleraig (Ian Evans) (09/12)

Sparrowhawk

single bird hunting through trees, Glenleraig (Ian Evans) (09/12)

Glaucous Gull

single 1st-winter bird Balchladich Bay (DAH) (09/12)

Map