Are there Magpie on Arran? Where can I see flocks of Starlings on Arran? Are Short-eared Owls resident on Arran? For all your birdwatching questions on Arran, the best place to start is the annual bird report.
With a great team effort, the Arran Natural History Society has again got the annual bird report in outlets throughout the island for the Easter holidays. With a stunning photograph of a Spotted Flycatcher by John Forbes on the front cover, it is yet another eye-catching annual report. The Arran Bird Report 2021 is a "must" for anyone interested in the birds of Arran. It includes information on all species seen on Arran, a month by month summary of what was around in 2021, information on ringed birds, reports on some of Arran's bird projects. It is in full colour and is beautifully illustrated with photographs from twenty-four photographers. The uniqueness of Arran is reflected throughout the report, including the number of UK protected birds that share our island with us, as well as the differences between here and the adjacent mainland.
The Covid-19 pandemic arrived in the UK in late January 2020 and had a profound impact on all our lives throughout the whole of 2020 and 2021. What was the impact on bird recording on Arran? Here are some observations. Visitor numbers to the island were down. There was some interruption to the various regular bird surveys in line with government advice. Looking at the data received, the number of contributors dropped from 320 in 2019 to 250 in 2020 but rose in 2021 to 310. The number of species reported dropped from 160 in 2019 to 157 in 2020 but rose in 2021 to 161.
Under the circumstances it was a great effort to produce the annual report for 2021 and the final publication showcases the fascinating birding year of 2021. Here is a flavour of some the highlights. Arran’s first ever Siberian Chiffchaff was reported in November. In addition, several species were recorded after an absence of a number of years, in April Rough-legged Buzzard after forty-seven years and Jay after nine years and in June Hobby after ten years, Quail after nine years and Nightjar after four years. As well as these highlights, Rose-coloured Starling turned up for the fifth year in a row and there were increasing reports of these colonising species; Little Egret, Nuthatch and White-tailed Eagle plus the largest ever numbers of Red Kite in October and Brambling in December.
The annual Arran Bird Report is a "must" for anyone interested in Arran and its birds. It is available from these outlets Arran Active, Brodick tel. 302113, the Book and Card Centre, Brodick tel 302288, the Harbour Shop, Blackwaterfoot tel. 860215, Pirnmill Shop and Post Office tel. 850235 and The Pillar Box, Whiting Bay tel. 700205. priced £9.99. It is also available directly from the distribution organisers for the Arran Natural History Society priced £9.99 plus £1.70 p&p at email@example.com Make sure you get your copy. Only a limited number have been produced.
Enjoy your birding and keep safe.