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August 2018

Bird Sightings
While the mean temperature for August was a couple of degrees lower than July, the mean temperature this August was identical to the mean temperature of last August. This August was drier than last August with about twenty percent less rain. The relatively dry summer continued.  Towards the end of the month, with slightly lower temperatures, there was just a hint of the approach of autumn.
Having said that, summer visitors were still to the fore including: a Swift over Torrylinnwaterfoot on 2nd, a Spotted Flycatcher in Merkland Wood on 3rd, two Common Sandpiper in Blackwaterfoot on 10th, twenty-six Willow Warbler in Corriecravie on 11th, one Grasshopper Warbler in Shiskine on 12th, twenty Sand Martin in Glen Catacol on 15th, a Chiffchaff in Brodick on 20th, seventy-five Swallow in Sliddery on 11th and one hundred and twenty House Martin in Shannochie on 30th.  Please try to give me your last record for Swallow and House Martin this year. Last year there were October records for both species.

Some signs of successful breeding this month included: Red-breasted Merganser with five young by Fisherman's Walk on 6th, Eider with four young at Cosyden on 7th, juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker in Glen Cloy on 9th, juvenile Water Rail and juvenile Greenfinch in Corriecrave on 11th, juvenile Golden Eagle in Glen Rosa on 20th and juvenile Little Grebe and juvenile Moorhen in Mossend Pond on 24th.  In August there was an exceptional number of reports of Sparrowhawk in gardens including many young birds.  Their breeding success may be reflecting the breeding success of the many small birds on which Sparrowhawk prey.

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: forty-two House Sparrow at Silver Sands on 6th, thirty-eight Curlew at Corriecravie on 7th, fifty-six Golden Plover at Machriewaterfoot also on 7th, three hundred and fifty Starling at Sliddery also on 7th, twenty-one Ringed Plover at Drumadoon on 10th, one hundred and forty-two Meadow Pipit at Sliddery on 13th, one hundred and forty Linnet and thirty Goldfinch on Cleat Shore on 20th and one hundred and sixty Pied Wagtail on Braehead Farm on 21st.

All around the coast were signs of birds on migration, including: a Merlin at Corriecravie Pond on 7th, a Greenshank at Blackwaterfoot also on 7th, three Sanderling at Drumadoon Point on 10th, a Knot on Silver Sands also on 10th, thirty Dunlin at Porta Buidhe on 12th, three Wheatear at Sliddery on 13th, a Black-tailed Godwit at Porta Buidhe also on 13th, a Osprey over Sliddery Shore on 19th, two hundred Manx Shearwater in Brodick Bay on 20th, twenty White Wagtail on Braehead Farm on 27th, two Whimbrel at Kildonan also on 27th and four Sandwich Tern in Lamlash Bay on 30th.

Among the one hundred plus species reported in August there were a number of other noteworthy ones. These included: a Goosander at Machriewaterfoot on 7th, thirty Gannet off Cosyden also on 7th, a Dipper at Glenashdale Falls on 19th and six Canada Geese at Blackwaterfoot on 21st.  In addition there were two reports of Red Kite the first on Sliddery Shore on 4th and the second report from Lamlash Golf Course on 6th.  This was the third report of this occasional visitor this year. The first was in April. The previous record before this was May 2016.  

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.

Enjoy your birding

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