In comparison to last January, January 2022 was warmer and drier. The mean temperature was 3.7 degrees higher. The rainfall was about 30% less. The weather was benign except for the last weekend when there were two named storms. Almost one hundred species were reported.
Highlights included reports of Brambling. Brambling is an irruptive winter visitor not seen every year. Reports in December continued into January with records throughout the month from widespread locations from Newton in the north to Sliddery in the south. Another highlight was Little Egret. In December there had been seventeen reports from twelve locations, all of a single bird and in a “Banner” Bird Note I wondered if there was one bird moving about or more than one bird. In January there were thirty-eight reports from nine locations. Again, all of a single bird. All but four of the records were from locations round Lamlash Bay. It looks as if there was one Little Egret getting familiar with Lamlash Bay. In addition, there were two White-tailed Eagle in Gleann Diomhan on 16th, four Moorhen in Mossend Pond on 24th and a Red Kite at the east end of Torrylinn Shore on 30th.
Wintering wildfowl included: ninety-five Pink-footed Geese in Sliddery on 2nd, one Whooper Swan on Sliddery Shore on 5th, five White-fronted Geese in Shiskine Valley on 10th, four Goosander in Machrie Bay on 15th, three hundred and fifty Greylag Geese in Shiskine Valley on 16th, four Goldeneye on Mossend Pond on 18th, forty-six Wigeon at Kilpatrick Point on 19th and eighty-nine Teal also at Kilpatrick Pint on 21st.
Other wintering species included: nine Yellowhammer in Sliddery on 2nd, one Jack Snipe on Sliddery Shore on 5th, ten Brambling in Cordon also on 5th, two Rook on Braehead Farm on 6th, sixty Redwing in Sliddery on 9th, two hundred Fieldfare at the Rodden on 10th and two Purple Sandpiper at Silver Sands on 16th.
Wintering flocks included: seven Great Northern Diver off Torrylinnwater Foot on 5th, sixty-eight Shag on Hamilton Rock on 9th, 50 Curlew in Clauchlands also on 9th, 200 Starling at the Rodden on 10th, twenty Pied Wagtail in Porta Buidhe on 15th, ninety-two Ringed Plover and twenty-three Turnstone in Blackwaterfoot on 21st, forty Golden Plover at Machriewaterfoot on 22nd, twelve Bullfinch at Fairy Dell on 22nd, one hundred and fifty Jackdaw in Shannochie on 23rd, thirty-two Oystercatcher on Brodick Golf Course on 28th and three hundred and fifty Common Gull in Sliddery on 30th.
Interesting garden birds in January included: two Goldcrest in Newton on 5th, one Blackcap in Corrie on 8th, one Treecreeper in Pirnmill on 14th, one Lesser Redpoll in Largymore on 22nd and two Great Spotted Woodpecker in Lagg on 25th. In a future Bird Note, there will be a report on the Arran RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Weekend of 28 to 30 January.
In January there were two reports of Gannet both off Pladda one on 10th and one on 15th. There were a number of reports of returning Shelduck on coastal territories including Clauchlands, Cleats Shore, Cosyden, Kildonan, Machrie and Merkland Point. Other signs of approaching spring included: a Song Thrush singing in Lamlash on 18th, a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in Stronach Woods on 20th, fifty-two Eider courting off Pirnmill on 22nd and six Red-breasted Merganser displaying in Sannox Bay on 23rd. But the winter is not over yet.