RSPB Information – From April 2015

April remained rather cold and changeable which delayed the start of spring for much of our wildlife.

The first calling Corncrake was heard at Mannal (23rd), followed by a few scattered birds in West Tiree but only a dozen or so calling males were back by the month-end and cover for them remained scant.

The Greenland White-fronts and Barnacle Geese departed en masse on 17th and up to 550 Black-tailed Godwits arrived in their brick-red breeding dress to feed around the lochs at the end of the month, including a colourringed bird from the Wash, which was at least 22 years old!

Rarest bird was an American Green-winged Teal at Loch an Eilein (13th), whilst other unusual birds included a Red Kite at Cornaigmore (6th), a female Marsh Harrier at Balinoe (19th), an early pair of Garganey at Balinoe (17th), a wandering Sea Eagle and a Stock Dove at Balephuil (28th) – the first on Tiree since 1999.

Many of the returning migrants were a little later than normal and included over 200 White Wagtails (from 8th), Chiffchaff (5th), House Martin (7th), Greenshank (8th), Blackcap (9th), Swallow (10th), Sand Martin (11th), Willow Warbler (16th), Little Tern (16th), Whimbrel (16th), Arctic Tern (23rd), Sedge Warbler (24th), Arctic Skua (24th) and Common Tern (28th), plus lots more Wheatears. There were still no reports of Cuckoo by the month-end.

Offshore, small numbers of Basking Sharks returned early (from 1st) with 30 noted off Skerryvore (22nd), whilst large numbers of feeding Gannets, auks and Manx Shearwaters close inshore indicated that plenty of prey-fish were present. A trip to Lunga (24th) as part of the Coll Birdwatching festival revealed huge numbers of Puffins and Shag already back and displaying. Odd Belted Beauty moths were noted on the machair and the first Puss Moths appeared right on cue, although the cold weather was generally not conducive to moths or to mothtrapping.

Many thanks to those of you who have kept me posted with your latest observations. If anyone would like to report unusual sightings of birds or other wildlife on Tiree, please contact me at the address below:

John Bowler, Pairc na Coille, Balephuil, Isle of Tiree PA77 6UE. Tel: 220748

Follow latest Tiree bird news on Twitter at: Parula@Tireebirder

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