Thanks to Mark for the impromptu stand-in last night.
The first day of a new month with a grey and uninspiring start. Mary-Ann Featherstone reports a couple of Tawny Owls over at Kildalton, while Hen Harriers get multiple notifications – 2 at Kilchoman, 1 at Loch Gorm and others at Machir Bay and Port Ellen, where one of the several WTEs on the island was noted. Mary Redman saw a couple more down at Frenchman’s Rocks. Other notables were 6 Woodcock along the road at Port Charlotte, a Pink-footed Goose and 21 Whooper Swans west of Loch Gorm. Machir Bay held a few Chough plus 60 Curlews and 40 Twite.
Talking of Twite…………………. This is perhaps one of David Wood’s favourite birds? He was involved last week down on the RSPB Oa reserve ringing another 85 Twite. They are fitted with a BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) metal ring and with a 2 letter/number coded ring (as on the photo below by Phil Catton). Although small (the birds and their rings!), they are readable with a good view through a scope, so please keep an eye out and report any sightings to David or via this blog. Over 400 Oa wintering Twite have been ringed in the last few years and currently 570 Twite are in a flock on The Oa feeding on the specially planted bird crop. (This planting and the feeders at the Oa car park make seeing this sometimes elusive, but under-rated/understated bird, a lot easier).
David also mentions that Twite on The Oa featured in a new BTO ‘Into the Red’ bird book on species becoming increasingly uncommon and going on to the “Red List”. The text is by Indy Kiemel Greene, who writes about Twite-watching on The Oa, accompanied by some great artwork by David. Profits go to the BTO and RBBP (Rare Breeding Birds Panel), so a very worthy Christmas gift if you need inspiration for something different and special.
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