Tuesday, April 22, 2008

21st April, 2008.

The strong winds are finally abating and evidence suggests migrants are now beginning to trickle through. Hen Harriers are beginning to get serious about territories and Ravens already have grown young in some nests.

Whimbrel was the obvious candidate with a "static" bird, and two parties of three flying north. The begining of what is usually a concerted passage well into May. A newly arrived Common Sandpiper on the coast and 2 Sandwich Tern were new. A party of five Grey lag Geese and a Pink-footed Goose suggested newly arrived birds too. We only ever have odd birds of the latter in the wintering goose flocks plus a noticeable passage in early autumn. Waders are certainly now coming through with parties of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone although none are in numbers. A very tight feeding flock on coastal grassland of almost 20 Meadow Pipits indicated passage northwards wasn't over despite many of our local birds being on territory.

Whilst there are more Wheatears and Willow Warblers around numbers are still low set against normal levels. For once the total of accumulated numbers ( 21 ) of Greenland White-fronted Geese exceeded those of Barnacle Geese ( 12 ), White Wagtails are more obvious, with one party of ten birds.

I rejoiced in the news that Scottish Ministers had turned down the proposal to allow 180 wind turbines to be located on the Isle of Lewis. After working on bird surveys there for two summers the richness ( and importance ) of the bird life has to be seen to be believed with many species being drawn from Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It would have been an absolute tradgedy to disrupt, or even destroy, such communities. Thought must be given to the dashed aspirations of the local community for which the proposal would have held the prospect of increased employment for a considerable period in an area , as here, where job opportunities are not easily come by. My guess, dare I say prediction, is that there will be a change in central government policy relating to the use of nuclear generation and that one of the locations for a large station will be here.

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