Sightings in May 2014

May 2nd 2014


Great Northern Diver – single in summer plumage Bay of Culkein, 31st May (DAH)

Dunlin – 9 Bay of Culkein, 31st May (DAH). One of these Dunlin was too close to a Ringed Plover nest and the adult plover had the Dunlin by the scruff of the neck and was lifting it off the ground and shaking it – the Dunlin, once released, did not hang around!

Sanderling – 14 Bay of Culkein, 31st May (DAH)

Ringed Plover – 5 adults and 2 chicks Bay of Culkein, 31st May (DAH)

Whimbrel – 3 Rubh’an Dunain, 31st May (DAH)

Golden Plover – 2 Culkein Stoer, 31st May (DAH)

Lapwing – 7 adults and 4 chicks Culkein Stoer, 31st May (DAH)

Yellowhammer – male Culkein Drumbeg, 29th May (DAH). A rare record for this part of Assynt

Arctic Skua – single pale form off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 28th May (DAH)

White Wagtail – 2 Bay of Culkein, 28th May (DAH)

Sanderling – 7 Bay of Culkein, 28th May (DAH)

White-tailed Eagle – 2 off Old Man of Stoer, 27th May (reported)

Grey Wagtail – single on River Culag, 27th May (Jane Young)

Whitethroat – 2 males, Little Assynt All Abilities path, 27th May (DAH)

Stonechat – 4 (2 adults and 2 juveniles) Gleann Leirag, 27th May (DAH)

Ring Ouzel – 2 males, one singing, near Bone Caves, 26th May (Gwen Richards)

Song Thrush – adult feeding juvenile Pollachapuill, Culkein Drumbeg, 26th May (DAH)

Spotted Flycatcher – 2 Pollachapuill, Culkein Drumbeg, 26th May (DAH)

Kestrel – near Stoerhead Lighthouse, 25th May (Gwen Richards)

Great Northern Diver – single in summer plumage Balchladich Bay, 25th May (Clarinda)

Manx Shearwater – single off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 25th May (DAH)

Sanderling – 6 on rocks below Stoerhead Lighthouse carpark, 25th May (DAH)

Red-throated Diver – 6 flying past Rubh’an Dunain, 25th May (DAH)

Whimbrel – single Culkein Drumbeg, 24th May (DAH)

Golden Plover – still 4 showing Culkein Drumbeg, 24th May (DAH)

Arctic and Common Terns – c110 off Culkein Drumbeg, 24th May (DAH)

Greylag Goose – 6 adults and 12 goslings Culkein Drumbeg harbour area, 24th May (DAH)

Black-throated Diver – 2 Loch Eileanach, 21st May (DAH)

White-tailed Eagle – single seen near radio mast Raffin, 20th May (reported)

Mistle Thrush – 4 (1 adult 3 juveniles) Culkein Drumbeg, 20th May (DAH)

Osprey – over Loch a’ Chairn Bhain, 20th May (DAH)

Black-tailed Godwit – single full summer plumage bird on grass at Loch an Aigeil, Clachtoll, 20th May (AS)

Redwing – nest building near Lochinver, mid-May (Clare Roller). There have been a few reports of nesting Redwing this year so keep a look out.

Pink-footed Goose – c45 off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 19th May (DAH). These birds were very low over the water heading north and when directly out from the lighthouse they landed on the water for over 30 minutes.

Arctic Skua – 2 (1 pale and 1 dark form) harassing a Kittiwake off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 18th May (DAH)

Pied Wagtail – single juvenile Culkein Drumbeg, 17th May (DAH)

Mistle Thrush – 3 (2 adults and 1 juvenile) Culkein Drumbeg, 17th May (DAH)

Turnstone – 5 Culkein Drumbeg and 9 Bay of Culkein, 17th May (DAH)

Golden Plover – 4 Culkein Drumbeg, 17th May (DAH)

Mallard – 8 adults and 6 ducklings Loch Neil Bhain, 17th May (DAH)

Lesser Black-backed Gull – 3 (2 adults and an immature) Culkein Stoer, 17th May (DAH)

Ringed Plover – 60 Bay of Culkein, 17th May (DAH). Again a large number for Assynt as we normally see around 8 at this time of year which is the typical breeding number for this bay.

Dunlin – 53 Bay of Culkein, 16th May and c350 17th May (DAH). The count on 17th May is quite unusual for Assynt and may be the peak of passage migration.

Sanderling – 2 Bay of Culkein, 16th May and 6 17th May (DAH)

Redshank – 3 Clachtoll, 16th May (Richard and Ennes Chappell)

Long-tailed Tit – 8 (2 adult 6 juvenile) near Loch Poll, 14th May (Richard and Ennes Chappell)

Red-throated Diver – 2 Bay of Culkein, 14th May (DAH)

White Wagtail – single female Bay of Culkein, 14th May (DAH)

Dunlin – 8 Bay of Culkein, 14th May (DAH)

Turnstone – 6 Bay of Culkein, 14th May (DAH). 5 of these birds were in full breeding plumage.

Cuckoo – brown morph female Clachtoll, 13th May (Stevan Lockhart). Photo on Gallery-Birds.

Sand Martin – 3 and possible nest burrow, near Stoer, 13th May (Richard and Ennes Chappell)

Pink-footed Goose – c65 flying north over sea off Clachtoll, 11th May (Richard and Ennes Chappell)

Whimbrel – 9 Clachtoll, 11th May (Richard and Ennes Chappell)

Golden Plover – up to 6 Clachtoll, 10th – 16th May (Richard and Ennes Chappell)

Eider – 3 pairs Loch Kirkaig, 10th May (AS)

House Martin – 4 collecting mud and nest building Culkein Drumbeg, 8th May (DAH). Photo on Gallery-Birds

White-tailed Sea Eagle – Achmelvich, 7th May (Ingrid Ritchie)

Snow Bunting – Female at Culkein Stoer, 7th May (reported)

Pochard –  Single in the Bay of Culkein, 7th May (reported)

White-billed Diver – report of an adult seen from ferry to Handa, 7th May. Not verified. Not in Assynt.

Great Northern Diver – 6 between Clachtoll and Stoer, 7th May (AS)

Arctic Tern – 18 on rocks between Clachtoll and Stoer, 7th May (AS)

Whimbrel – 15 Clachtoll, 7th May (AS)

Shelduck – 3 flying passed Clachtoll, 7th May (AS)

Goosander – A single male and two females on the River Inver, 7th May (AS)

Puffin – single out from Bay of Clachtoll, 7th May (DAH)

Whimbrel – 2 Clachtoll, 7th May (DAH)

Common Tern – 12 Bay of Clachtoll, 7th May (DAH)

Buzzard – 3 over Clachtoll, 7th May (DAH)

Peregrine – male hunting near Stoerhead Lighthouse, 6th May (DAH)

Sand Martin – 2 near Raffin, 6th May (DAH)

Sedge Warbler – single singing from reeds Loch na Claise, 6th May (DAH)

Goldfinch – single feeding in garden Nedd, 5th May (Ian and Pat Evans)

Dunlin – c35 Clashnessie Bay, 5th May (DAH)

Black-throated Diver – 2 Clashnessie Bay, 5th May (DAH)

Arctic Tern – 4 feeding Clashnessie Bay, 5th May (DAH)

Greenshank – 1 Oldany Estuary and 2 over Clashnessie, 5th May (DAH)

Red-breasted Merganser – 2 pairs Loch Nedd, 5th May (DAH)

Blackcap – singing near Glenleraig, 5th May (DAH)

Merlin – hunting near cattle grid Drumbeg, 5th May (DAH)

Black-throated Diver – 3 Loch Drumbeg, 5th May (Wendy Glover)

Raven – 3 large chicks in nest near Calda house, Inchnadamph, 4th May (AS)

Osprey  – caught small fish in Ledbeg river at Ledmore junction, 4th May (AS)

Ring Ouzel – male singing on Knockan crags, 4th May (AS)

Great-northern Diver  – opposite Post Office in Lochinver bay, 4th May (AS)

Black-throated Diver – pair on Loch Awe, 4th May (AS)

Peregrine – pair on Stronchrubie cliffs at Inchnadamph, 4th May (AS)

Chiffchaff – male singing in garden at Clachtoll, 4th May (AS)

Brambling – female calling from sycamore tree at Inchnadamph, 3rd May (AS)

Dipper – on River Inver near Falls of Kirkaig, 3rd May (Clarinda)

Redstart – singing near Glencanisp Lodge, 2nd May (Brendan O’Hanrahan)

Red-throated Diver – 4 flying past Stoerhead Lighthouse, 2nd May (DAH)

Lapwing – 7 Culkein Stoer, 2nd May (DAH)

Whimbrel – 9 Rubh’an Dunain, 2nd May (DAH)

Sanderling – 1 Bay of Culkein, 2nd May (DAH)

Dunlin – 7 Bay of Culkein, 2nd May (DAH)

Turnstone – 3 Bay of Culkein, 2nd May (DAH)

Grasshopper Warbler – still ‘reeling’ near Ardvar, 2nd May (Becky Garvie)

Goosander – pair on the River Inver, 1st May (AS)

Grasshopper Warbler – single bird reeling Culkein Drumbeg, 1st May (Jim and Corinne France)

Black-throated Diver – two Loch Assynt, 1st May (Helen Morrison)

Great-northern Diver – still in Lochinver bay, 2nd May (AS).

Cuckoo – single bird calling Glencanisp, 1st May (DAH)

Yellowhammer – pair Glencanisp road, 1st May (DAH)

Tree Pipit – male displaying and singing Glen Canisp road, 1st May (DAH)

Blackcap – female Glen Canisp road, 1st May (DAH)



Common Dolphin – c45 off Point of Stoer, 31st May (DAH). These animals were feeding for over an hour as were dozens of Kittiwake and auks.

Painted Lady – one seen feeding on dandelions Raffin, 30th May (DAH)

Harbour Porpoise – five sightings off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 28th May (Leigh Sedgley/DAH)

Orange Tip butterfly – pair attempting to mate near Bone Caves, 26th May (Gwen Richards)

Brimstone Moth Opisthrograptis luteolata – Pollachapuill, Culkein Drumbeg, 26th May (DAH). Photo on Gallery-Moths.

Pine Marten – single near Inverkirkaig, 25th May (K. Atkinson)

Harbour Porpoise – single off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 25th May (DAH)

Common or Harbour Seal – 46 Culkein Drumbeg harbour area, 24th May (DAH)

Clown beetle Margarinotus striola – on window sill Nedd, 20th May (Ian and Pat Evans). This is the first record of this 5mm long beetle in N-W Scotland but that is most likely due to a lack of coleopterists rather than the beetle itself! Photo on Gallery-Beetles.

Stoat – in garden Clachtoll, 20th May (AS)

Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly – All Abilities Path Little Assynt, 19th May (Ian and Pat Evans)

Elphin Saddle fungus Helvella lacunosa – Inverkirkaig, 19th May (Ian and Pat Evans). Photo on Gallery-Fungi.

Bottlenose Dolphin – c12 Clashnessie Bay then past Rubh’an Dunain then past Stoerhead Lighthouse, 19th May (DAH). These sightings all took place from 08.15 to 09.45. There were reports from Clachtoll and Achmelvich later in the morning. Pod sighted again on 20th May at 1.00pm heading south past Lighthouse (Leigh Sedgley).

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris tityus – in garden Badnaban, 18th May (Les and Liz Pearce). This is a first record of this moth for Assynt.

Minke Whale – single feeding off Raffin, 18th May (DAH)

Bottlenose Dolphin – c12 out from Clashnessie Bay, 17th May (C and C Puddephatt)

Slow-worm – pair mating near Oldany, 12th May (Gwen Richards). The following was provided by Ian M. Evans, Nedd concerning this sighting – ‘The male had seized the female’s head, his mandibles being in her mouth, the heads at right angles’ (Malcom Smith, 1954, New Naturalist, p.176). I don’t remember a previous observation of a mating pair locally. The date is as given in that source for the peak mating period (which extends from mid-April to end of June).

Speckled Wood butterfly – in garden Nedd, 12th May (Ian and Pat Evans)

Common Lizard – one found basking on track to Old Man of Stoer, 12th May (Mike Eyre). Photo on Gallery-Amphibians and Reptiles.

Minke whale – single off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 8th May (Leigh Sedgley). Our first large cetacean sighting of 2014, fingers crossed for lots more. Seen again on 13th May.

Black morel fungus Morchella elata – several fruiting bodies near Achmelvich, 7th May (reported). Photo and more information under Articles.

Harbour Porpoise – at least six between Clachtoll and Stoer 7th May (AS).

Harbour Porpoise – single off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 6th May (DAH)

Otter – two feeding Clashnessie Bay, 5th May (DAH)

Adder – female basking in Loanan Valley near Bone Caves, 4th May (Adam Barnes). Photo on Gallery-Amphibians and Reptiles.

Otter – single below Stoer lighthouse, 4th May (FS)

Puss Moth Cerura vinula – Clachtoll, 4th May (Jim Galway). Photo of this beautiful moth by Morag Soszka on Gallery-Moths

Harbour Porpoise – 2 feeding off Stoerhead Lighthouse, 2nd May (DAH)

Small red damselfly – First of the year seen at Inchnadamph 2nd May (AS)

100+ Bumblebees – feeding on sycamore tree flowers at Inchnadamph including white-tailed bumblebee Bombus leucorum, early bumblebee Bombus pratorum, heath bumblebee Bombus jonellus and gypsy bumblebee Bombus bohemicus, 1st May (AS)

Palmate Newt – female in roadside pool Glen Canisp, 1st May (DAH)

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Recent Sightings

Blue Jellyfish

c 10 small jellyfish (c4cm diameter) on beach, Clachtoll (Mhairi Leeson) (21/05)

Arctic Skua

Single bird chasing common terns, Bay of Clachtoll (Mhairi Leeson) (21/05)

Ringed Plover

Single bird on rocks, Bay of Clachtoll (Mhairi Leeson) (21/05)


Three Red-throated Divers and a single Great Northern Diver, all in breeding plumage, Clashnessie Bay (DAH) (21/05)

Arctic Tern

Two birds feeding, Clashnessie Bay (DAH) (21/05)

Canada Goose

Two birds, Loch Neil Bhain and then later Bay of Culkein (DAH). Photo Gallery - Birds (20/05)

Carrion Crow

Single adult bird, Achnacarnin (DAH) (20/05)


c. 170 birds, Bay of Culkein (DAH) (20/05)