2. Annual Field Club Bird Race – Sunday 15th May 2016

Assynt Field Club Annual Bird Race 2016

Hot on the heels of Eurovision for getting Assynt talking is the annual Field Club bird race. Held for at least, oh several years now, and with no change to the voting system, participants in the race have two hours on the Stoer peninsula to record as many birds as possible.

The cold wind on Sunday 15th May had a marked effect on the number of participants but three teams set off from Stoer Hall at 11am with the rendezvous two hours later being the car park at Stoerhead Lighthouse. Again, as part of a long standing tradition, food and drink would be purchased from Leigh Sedgley’s ‘Living the Dream’ tea van while the scores came in. Many thanks to Leigh for the generous discount offered to all participants in the race – her pancakes alone are worth freezing for!

After visits to all the known good birding locations and several gardens on the way, the teams, who had representatives from Scotland, Wales and England this year, gathered to hear the result.

It seems the media have come up with a new way to describe the UK Eurovision entry’s final position to try and hide how rubbish it is by saying it was third from bottom, they must think that sounds better than third last!

Let’s try it here: third was the ‘Somersets’ with a score which put them bottom; second was the ‘StrathBeck’ team with a score that put them second from bottom and the winners, with a score that put them third from bottom, was ‘NeddBeg’! Thanks, as always, to Gwen Richard’s organisational skills all teams went away with a memento to add to their frostbite!

The total number of bird species recorded was 51 which is way down on the 2015 figure of 66 but a good day was had by all, see you in 2017.

Here are the species recorded –

Blackbird; Black Guillemot; Black-headed Gull; Buzzard; Chaffinch; Common Gull; Common Sandpiper; Common Tern; Cormorant; Cuckoo; Dunlin; Dunnock; Eider; Fulmar; Great Black-backed Gull; Great Skua; Greylag Goose; Guillemot; Herring Gull; Hooded Crow; House Sparrow; Kittiwake; Lapwing; Lesser Black-backed Gull; Mallard; Meadow Pipit; Merlin; Little Grebe; Oystercatcher; Pied Wagtail; Raven; Razorbill; Red-throated Diver; Ringed Plover; Robin; Rock Dove; Rock Pipit; Sanderling; Sedge Warbler; Shag; Skylark; Stonechat; Storm Petrel; Snipe; Song Thrush; Starling; Swallow; Wheatear; Whimbrel; White Wagtail; Wren.

and here are the teams sharing the spoils

AFC Bird Race Participants 2016. Photo Leigh Sedgley
AFC Bird Race Participants 2016. Photo Leigh Sedgley

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Recent Sightings

Shore Sexton Beetle (Necrodes littoralis)

Single insect on deer gate, possibly attracted by adjacent dead sheep, Nedd (Ian Evans) (28/10)

Weasel

Single animal in garden, Nedd (Ian Evans) (28/10)

Bar-tailed Godwit

Single bird feeding on shore, Bay of Culkein (Morag Moir) (26/10)

Rock Pipit

12 plus birds feeding on seaweed Raffin (AS) (25/10)

Turnstone

Single bird feeding on strand line at Raffin (AS) (25/10)

Great Northern Diver

Two birds, Loch Dhrombaig (DAH) (24/10)

Curlew

Four birds feeding on the rocks at the beach at low tide, Bay of Culkein (Morag Moir) (23/10)

Long-tailed Tit

13 birds in garden tree, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (22/10)

Map