Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thursday, 24th March, 2011. The muti-various effects of weather!!

A day that didn't turn out as intended due to a strange "banded" weather system which affected the island! Setting out with the intention of travelling to Jura I discovered the ferry wasn't running due to the fog which absolutely filled the Sound of Islay. On the journey various parts of the island were similarly affected, but not to the same extent. So, after waiting for over two hours I ditched the proposition and retraced my steps, only to find that the central part of Islay was bathed in glorious sunshine!!

Taking advantage of the opportunity I went into various woodland blocks simply to see what the situation is with various common species following the vagaries of the winter. At this stage, and I should emphasize that given it was late morning and song and activity were beginning to wane a little, I should say that the Wren population appears to be reduced by 60-70%, no Goldcrests or Long-tailed Tits were recorded but, by contrast, both Blue and Great Tits appeared in unusually good numbers! This situation could improve and I'll be doing a repeat of the self same survey in late April and in May, so a better idea of the situation will be gained then.

Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail numbers appear late in terms of their usual numbers arriving at this time of year. Whilst it's speculation , I suspect they were forced south much farther south than in mild winters due to the general distribution of the bad weather and could be faced with a slightly longer than normal return migration. As yet Stonechat numbers still appear to be very much depressed and one wonders the extent to which they may have been badly affected by the bad winter.

As a final commentary on the weather my eventual journey home saw rolling banks of mist in the southern part of Loch Indaal, sunshine bathing parts of the southern Rinns but thick fog offshore! Ah well1.

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