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December 2021

Bird Sightings
The mild weather of November continued into December with no negative temperatures. December was wetter with about fifty percent more rain than November.

Winter visitors in December included: five Purple Sandpiper on Silver Sands on 5th and a first winter Glaucous Gull by Fisherman’s Walk on 13th. The last Arran record of this gull was in February 2020. While the numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing, regular winter visitors, were down on recent years, the number of Brambling, an irruptive winter visitor, were the largest ever recorded on Arran with forty at Cnoc na Dail on 12th and fifty at the same location on 18th.

Wintering wildfowl were to the fore including: five hundred and fifty Greylag Geese in the Shiskine Valley on 5th, fifty Pink-footed Geese also in the Shiskine Valley on 5th, four Wigeon in Kildonan on 6th, twenty-nine Canada Geese in Clachaig on 24th, twenty-three Teal on Cleats Shore on 28th and eight Whooper Swan flying and calling over Machrie on 9th .

Groups of wintering birds included: twenty Turnstone and twenty-one Black-headed Gull on Silver Sands on 4th, forty-four Ringed Plover in Blackwaterfoot on 8th, seventy Curlew and eighteen Snipe in Port na Feannaiche also on 8th, one hundred and forty Common Gull on Cleats Shore on 13th, two hundred Jackdaw in Machrie on 19th, twenty Lapwing on Cleats Shore on 28th, twenty-three Woodcock in East Bennan also on 28th, two hundred Starling in Cloined on 31st and thirty Greenfinch at Drumadoon Point also on 31st was the largest group for a number of years.

In December the seventeen records of Little Egret from twelve locations featured in a recent “Banner” Bird Note. Other interesting records this month included: two returning Shelduck in Kildonan on 5th, a Jack Snipe at Port na Feannaiche on 8th, five Yellowhammer in Sliddery on 10th, ten Rook in Clachaig also on 10th, a Dipper in Machrie on 19th and a Kingfisher in the Rosa Burn, Brodick on 21st. In addition, all three divers were around the coast including six Great Northern Diver at Port na Feannaiche on 8th, two Red-throated Diver off King’s Cave on 26th and two Black-throated Diver in Whiting Bay on 30th .

Although still in the depth of winter there were some signs of approaching spring with Great Spotted Woodpecker reported drumming in Brodick Country Park on 27th, Red-breasted Mergansers displaying in Lamlash Bay on 28th and a Song Thrush singing in Pirnmill on 29th .

Gardens provide a safe refuge for some birds in winter.  Among the more unusual records received were: three Brambling in Sliddery on 19th, a Treecreeper in Sannox on 23rd, two Great Spotted Woodpecker in Lagg on 26th and sixteen Long-tailed Tit in Corrie on 26th .
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