August 2016 was warmer and drier than August 2015. This year August was similar in terms of rainfall and temperature to July. Towards the end of the month, with lower temperatures some nights, there was more than a hint of the approach of autumn.
Having said that, summer visitors were still to the fore including family groups of the following: Sedge Warbler in Corriecravie on 1, Whitethroat in Auchenhew on 2, Willow Warbler in High Whitefarland also on 2, Sand Martin in Monyquil on 4, Spotted Flycatcher in North Sannox on 5, Tree Pipit in Sliddery on 18 and Common Sandpiper in Slidderywaterfoot on 20. In addition, there were ninety Swallow at Corriecravie on 1 and sixty at Kilpatrick Farm on 23. The largest group of House Martin was thirty at Sliddery on 20. A white leucistic House Martin caused a bit of a stir in Whiting Bay/Kingscross between the 1 and the 5. The last record of Swift was a single bird over Auchencairn on 5. Swift do not breed on Arran. Please try to give me your last record for Swallow and House Martin this year. Last year there were October records for both species.
Other signs of successful breeding this month included: twenty-four Black Guillemot off Whitefarland on 1, young Great Spotted Woodpecker in Glenloig on 13, Mute Swan with five young at Clauchlands on 14, five Buzzard over High Cloined on 16, juvenile Water Rail and juvenile Moorhen in Corriecravie on 17, a second brood of Blackbird in Lamlash on 26, eight Grey Heron in Lochranza also on 26 and a Collared Dove with an occupied nest in a TV satellite dish in Blackwaterfoot on 28.
In August, breeding is coming to an end, and after breeding a number of species begin to flock together, some in preparation for migration. These included: twenty-five Pied Wagtail at Porta Buidhe on 5, twenty Mistle Thrush in Corriegills on 8, five hundred Manx Shearwater in Brodick Bay on 11, seventy Goldfinch and seventy Curlew at Clauchlands on 13, forty-eight Meadow Pipit in Sliddery on 20, forty-two Red-breasted Merganser in Cosyden also on 20, four hundred Starling in Sliddery on 21, one hundred Ringed Plover and fourteen Redshank at Sandbraes on 23, fifty Linnet at Cleats Shore on 27 and one hundred House Sparrow in Feorline on 29.
All around the coast were signs of birds on migration, including eight Sanderling at Drumadoon Point on 2, five Wheatear on Cleats Shore on 5, four Greenshank at Slidderywaterfoot on 14, a Great Skua in Brodick Bay on 18, two Whimbrel on Sliddery shore also on 18, eleven White Wagtail at Slidderywaterfoot on 20, a Knot and thirty-one Turnstone at Machriewaterfoot on 22, four Sandwich Tern in Machrie Bay 27 and eight Dunlin at Machriewaterfoot on 28.
As reported in the last "Bird Notes", on 31 July there was an exceptional sighting of a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope on a pond on a farm in Sliddery. The bird was also present on 1 August but there was no sign of it on 2 August. The last Arran record was in August 1983. Other birding highlights this month included: a juvenile Coot at Port na Lochan from 3 to 14 (only the third Arran record since 1989), two Little Grebes at Mossend Pond on 8, fourteen Red Grouse by Urie Loch on 18 and a group of eight Black-throated Diver off the King's Cave on 28.
September sees the start of the peak migration season when many birds are on the move. It is the time to expect the unexpected. I look forward to hearing from you.