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November 2016

Bird Sightings

In November winter arrived with the first substantial snow on the mountains.  The mean temperature was five degrees lower than October and there was almost four times as much rain as October. Having said that it was drier than last November with about a third less rain but it was colder almost three degrees colder.The rain was mainly in the middle of the month with a cold spell to end the month.

In these conditions it was no surprise that there were few records of lingering summer visitors. The only records were two reports of Gannet on 2 November one off Drumadoon Point and one off Lochranza.

Winter visitors were to the fore, among the highlights being two Snow Bunting flying over the top of Sail Chalmadale on 6 and reports of stunning Waxwings starting with two in Margnaheglish on 6 with the biggest group to date being around one hundred on Corrie Golf Course on 22.   These berry-loving, colourful birds from Northern Europe, sometimes venture into the UK during winter if there is a shortage of food in their Scandinavian breeding area. While they are not reported every winter in the UK, let's hope there are plenty more Arran sightings this winter.

Throughout the month there were widespread reports of foraging Fieldfare and Redwing, sometimes in mixed flocks. The largest group of Fieldfare reported was five hundred on Whiting Bay Golf Course on 1 and the largest group of Redwing was also on a golf course with three hundred on Lamlash Golf Course on 3.  Other records of wintering birds included: a Brambling in Shiskine on 6, two Purple Sandpiper at Porta Buidhe on 10, fourteen Rook in Sliddery on 25 and forty Turnstone at Silver Sands on 26.

Groups of wintering wildfowl included: sixty Wigeon in Cosyden on 1, one Tufted Duck in Port na Lochan on 2, seventy-two Pink -footed Goose in Sliddery on 4, four Common Scoter off Cosyden on 7, a female Scaup by the mouth of the Rosa burn on 14, four Goldeneye in Sannox Bay on 16, seventeen Whooper Swan over Knockenkelly on 21 and the largest group of Greylag Goose reported was two hundred and seventy-five in Shiskine on 22.

Gardens are safe refuges during the winter months with many people providing regular food and water for their feathered friends. These are a small selection from the many reports from gardens round the island in November: four Blackbird in Lamlash on 4, twelve House Sparrow in Kilpatrick on 6, five Bullfinch in Kildonan also on 6, four Goldfinch in Whiting Bay on 7, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Shiskine on 21, a Yellowhammer also in Shiskine on 26, eight Chaffinch in Kilpatrick on 28, six Long-tailed Tit in Brodick on 29, four Coal Tit on Margnaheglish on 30 and unusually for a garden a Woodcock was photographed in a garden in Glen Cloy on 9.

Other November highlights included: nine Great Northern Diver off Drumadoon Point on 2, a male Goosander off Pirnmill on 6, a male Black Grouse in High Whitefarland on 7, eight Black-throated Diver off Cosyden also on 7, twelve Goldcrest in Brodick Country Park on 20, a Jack Snipe in Hazelburn on 24, five Little Grebe in Loch Ranza on 25, two Moorhen at Mossend Pond on 26 and a Merlin in Kilpatrick on 28.  

Finally there have been no reports yet of Shelduck returning to Arran after their annual departure to moult.  Look out for them in December

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