Skipness, 29th June 2014

The weather was warm and sunny and no one minded waiting for those catching the Portavadie to Tarbet ferry to arrive at our meeting place in the Skipness Castle car park. The time was put to good use as we took a short walk in the surrounding woods which produced a profusion of robins (both juvenile and adult), good numbers of chaffinches, and great tits as well as coal tit, wren, dunnock, tree creeper and a greater spotted woodpecker. With the expected numbers for the group complete, we set off along the Campbell Glen where blackbirds and song thrushes were quickly added to the list for those who had not already seen them, but we were surprised by the general lack of birds – no wagtails (pied or hoped for grey) were in evidence and our usual kestrel was noticeable by his absence. Moving on, however we were rewarded by sightings of siskin, blue tit, crossbill, lesser redpoll, chiffchaff and willow warbler amongst the trees and in the nearby field mistle thrush were feeding with pied wagtails darting about amongst them catching insects while swallows were hawking overhead. As we progressed down the path beside a tall dry stone dyke, a distant solitary heron was fishing at the edge of the sea, we also noted hooded crows, wood pigeons, starlings, ravens and a buzzard, while a cock pheasant headed for cover. After negotiating a style over the dyke without much difficulty, Skipness Castle (and most importantly the Seafood Cabin) could be seen in the distance. On the way meadow pipits but, unusually for this location no rock pipits, were observed and on looking out to sea there were several gannets fishing as well as a red-throated diver, red-breasted merganser, cormorant , shag, black guillemot, oystercatcher, great black-backed gull, herring gull, common sand piper, ringed plover.

After a delicious and welcome late lunch we headed back to the car park where a female bull finch was added to the list of birds seen, and on the way home we stopped at Claonaig Bay where the following species were added to the list – house sparrow, jackdaw, greenfinch, house martin, sand martin, common gull, sedge warbler, reed bunting, lesser black-backed gull, eider, collared dove, rock dove, rock pipit.

List of birds seen in the order of sightings throughout the walk: Great Tit, Common Chaffinch, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Treecreeper, Wood Warbler, Siskin, Pied Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, Barn Swallow, Blue Tit, Coat Tit, Grey Heron, Hooded Crow, Wood Pigeon, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Buzzard, Common Raven, Twite, Common Pheasant, Rook, Common Starling, Lesser Redpoll, Goldcrest, Common Crossbill, Northern Gannet, Oystercatcher, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Red-throated Diver, Black Guillemot, Shag, Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch, Meadow Pipit, Common Sandpiper, Goldfinch, Great Cormorant, Linnet, Red-breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Greenfinch, House Martin, Common Gull, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Eider, Collared Dove, Rock Dove, Sand Martin.

Katie Pendreigh