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Birdwatch

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

After the hectic to-ings and fro-ings of the autumn migrations, birdlife in North Lewis is in its winter lull. During October and November, as well as the usual migrants such as the departing swallows and the arriving geese - to mention just two of many species - we have had the pleasure of some others, not commonly seen in our part of the world. Of course, our situation here in North Lewis, being on the main migratory path to and from the Arctic Circle, is ideal for birdwatchers on the lookout for something different. The wild North Atlantic storms can also be depended upon to blow some poor unfortunate birds off course and these are always only too happy to take advantage of our locality to grab a well-needed rest and some sustenance, before setting off again on their long journeys. This autumn was no different and amongst our visitors were a significant number of Europe’s smallest bird, the goldcrest, blown in by easterly winds from Scandinavia, as they struggled against the elements to reach their winter habitat in southern Britain. Other welcome, and attractive, visitors were a number of Hornemann’s Arctic Redpolls - fairly rare visitors to these parts – which hale from the tundra of Greenland. There have also been Common Redpolls, whose breeding grounds are in the high Arctic. In fact, a group of 10 of the latter has been spotted in Stornoway just three days ago. The white-winged Arctic gulls are also with us. There have been sightings throughout the Western Isles of Glaucous Gulls, from Iceland, and Iceland Gulls, (ironically) from Greenland. With the continuous storms we have been experiencing here in North Lewis over the past month or so, you can’t help but wonder why these winter visitors don’t chose to go somewhere with a friendlier climate. Fortunately, for those of us who gain so much pleasure from their presence amongst us, they continue to visit.

Categories: Wildlife and Birds

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