The mild weather of November did not continue into December. The mean temperature in December was three degrees colder than the mean temperature in November. December also had around twenty-five percent less rain than November.
Highlights from November continued throughout December with further reports of Little Egret from around Lamlash Bay, a single Nuthatch at garden feeders in Pirnmill throughout the month and a pair of White-tailed Eagle on the west coast. This species will feature in the next Bird Note in the “Banner”.
Other visitors in December included: forty Twite on Cleats Shore on 6th, twenty Fieldfare at Strathwillan on 11th, fifty Rook in Kildonan on 17th, five Purple Sandpiper on Silver Sands on 29th and five Redwing at Clachaig on 30th.
Wintering wildfowl were to the fore including: two Whooper Swan on Silver Sands on 2nd, twenty-four Wigeon at Cleiteadh Buidhe on 6th, a male Goldeneye on Mossend Pond also on 6th, fifty Teal at Carlo on 14th, three hundred Greylag Geese on the Rodden on 24th and sixty-three Pink-footed Geese in Sliddery on 30th. In addition, there were reports of Shelduck returning after their autumn moult from Auchenhew Bay, Cleats Shore, Sannox Bay, Silver Sands and Whiting Bay.
Groups of wintering birds included: one hundred Common Gull at Porta Buidhe on 1st, nine Snipe and two Jack Snipe in Sliddery on 5th, twenty-three Woodcock in Bennan on 15 th, thirty Curlew at Clauchlands on 24th, forty Turnstone in Catacol Bay on 30th and eight Black-throated Diver in Whiting Bay on 31st.
Gardens provide a safe refuge for some birds in winter. Among the more unusual records received were: twenty Long-tailed Tit in Lamlash on 4th, five Yellowhammer in Sliddery on 11th, four Goldcrest in Brodick on 16th, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Lagg on 27th, a Treecreeper in Pirnmill also on 27thand a male Blackcap in Whiting Bay on 31st.
Finally, here is a date for your diary: the weekend of Friday 29 to Sunday 31 January. That weekend stock up your bird feeders, spend one hour of your weekend watching your garden birds, and note down the highest number you see of each bird species. This is the weekend of the “Big Garden Birdwatch”. Last year nearly half a million people throughout the UK and over thirty on Arran took part in this valuable exercise. For more information and to get the free starter pack, visit the RSPB website Big Garden Birdwatch http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/ . If you do decide to take part, please share your records with me.