Some observations for January-March 2010 (in date order).
13.1: barn owl (chalets, Cathair Dhubh, RG. 4.1: fieldfare (Nedd, IME). 15.1: goldfinch (on nut-feeder, Nedd, still present 31.3, IME; also seen at Drumbeg, NM, and at Eadar da Sloc, MR). 16.1: bat flying (Nedd, IME). 18.1: sea eagle (2 at Inchnadamph with wing tags, AS). 19.1: water-rail (pool behind house, Pollachapuill, MM; also at Badnaban, 24.12.09, LP). Reported on 21.1: great spotted woodpecker (Baddidarach, LF), blackcap and long-tailed tits (on bird feeders, Strathan, CC), moorhens (two garden, Strathan, DC; one, Tigh Ban, Balchladich, GR, 17.1; up to 7, Loch an Aigeil, AS, 18.1). 24.1: stoat (partial ermine, Craggan Glas, Clashnessie, EK; also one in almost full ermine, Clachtoll, 9.3, FP). 29.1: siskins (on nut-feeder, Drumbeg, NM; 14 on seed, Ardsaile, 8.2, DM). 31.3: sea eagle (mouth of River Loanan, Inchanadamph, HM; two also seen behind Field Centre, Inchnadamph, late January, CR, and one on top of Ardvreck Castle, DC). 5.2; shelduck (2 at Culkein, Drumbeg, DH). 6.2: great northern divers (7 at Culkein Stoer, DH). 7.2: toad (crossing road, Brackloch, DM; also at Badnaban, 8.3, LP). 10.2: wig wrack Ascophyllum nodosum mackaii (Loch Ardbhair, 10.2, new locality, also at mouth of Oldany River, 14.2, IME). 11.2: pale brindled beauty (moth, at light, Badnaban, LP). 4.3: skylark (20 at Clachtoll, AS). 6.3: frogspawn (Baddidarach, KF, also at Drumbeg, 7.3 and Culkein Drumbeg, 8.3, IME; much of it was later ‘frosted’). 7.3: crossbills (pair at Stratheasgie, GP). 8.3: oystercatchers (back at Ardvreck Castle, HM). 14.3: palmate newt (old road, Little Assynt, LP). 16.3; water rail (Raffin, GS). 16.3: black-throated diver (2 back on Loch Assynt, HM). 16.3: small tortoiseshell butterfly, (Clachtoll, FP). 18.3: bumblebee (Loch Assynt, AS). 18.3: roe deer (buck, across road, Loch na Bruithaich, IME). 19.3: pied wagtail (back in Drumbeg, IME). 20.3: goldeneye (still 9 on Loch Ruighean an Aitinn, IME); ringed plover (pair back at Inchnadamph, HM; also at Kerrachar, 25.3, PK). 21.3: common quaker, yellow-horned, red sword-grass (moths, at light, Badnaban, LP). 25.3: redwings (Nedd, did not stay long, IME); 23.3: wheatear (Balchladdich, DH and also Clachtoll, FP).
Also reported in BBC News was the rediscovery beside the River Inver of an apparently ‘extinct’ micro-caddisfly, Hydroptila tigurina. This was originally found at Ambleside in the Lake District in 1881, and had not been seen since in Britain. The finder was David Pryce of the University of Stirling, who has been visiting Assynt since 2003, and is an expert on caddisflies and other freshwater organisms. He has kindly supplied a full list of the species he has recorded; this includes 13 small crustaceans, 4 lacewings, 10 stoneflies and no fewer than 35 caddisflies, most of which are probably new records for this area. He is hoping to be able to help with the survey of freshwater habitats on Little Assynt that is being undertaken by the Culag Community Woodland Trust this summer.
Thanks to all those who have contributed observations, Don Campbell, Clarinda Chant, Ian and Pat Evans, Ken and Lyn Fairchild, Sandy and Roger Glover, David Haines, Peter Kohn, Eileen King, Tina Lloyd-Jenkins, Non MacLeod, Doug Mainland, Helen Morrison, Les Pearce, Gweneth Perry, Fiona Phipps, Gwen Richards, Chris Rix, Mike Rochester, Gary Smith, Andy and Roz Summers, Those mentioned above are only a selection of ones received; apologies to anyone whose observations have been omitted. Please send your records to email@example.com. It is very helpful if unusual observations, or ones from out-of-the-way places, are accompanied by a 4-figure grid reference e.g. NC1332.