The weather in September was a month of two halves. The first part was settled, warm and dry with temperatures, at times, warmer than any temperature in July and August. The second part was unsettled and wet. The September rainfall was higher than in either July or August and the rain nearly all fell in the second half of the month. September is the start of the peak migration season when many birds are on the move after breeding. The weather was generally conducive for watching this migration.
In September summer visitors were leaving but some were still around including two Whitethroat on Cleats Shore on 2nd, two Willow Warbler in Lamlash on 7th, two Sand Martin in Blackwaterfoot on 10th, thirty Lesser Black-backed Gull in Lochranza on 15th, two Swift over Whiting Bay on 24th and a Chiffchaff on Kilbride Hill on 29th. For House Martin, the largest September group was twenty at Invercloy on 9th and the latest one was two Whiting Bay on 28th . For Swallow, the largest group was one hundred at Cordon on 3rd and the latest one was forty in Silver Sands on 30th. October should see the last of the House Martins, Swallows and other summer visitors departing south.
In September there were reports of returning winter visitors including: eighty-five Pink-footed Geese over Sliddery on 21st, one hundred Greylag Geese in the Shiskine Valley on 27th and also on 27th a mixed flock of around fifty Redwing and Fieldfare. October should see increasing numbers of these species and others including Whooper Swan and Wigeon.
Species on migration were visible particularly round our coasts including: seven White-Wagtail at Porta Buidhe on 1st, one Black-tailed Godwit on Cleats Shore on 2nd, nine Dunlin on Silver Sands on 4th, three Greenshank on Cleats Shore on 8th, one Knot at Drumadoon Point on 9th, one Sandwich Tern off Kildonan on 12th, a Great Skua off Pladda also on 12th, five Ring Ouzel on North Newton on 15th, a male Merlin on Cleats Shore on 22nd, two Sanderling at Blackwaterfoot on 25th, an Arctic Skua and a Wheatear at Drumadoon Point also on 25th and four Bar-tailed Godwit on Torrylinn Shore on 30th.
At this time of year birds begin to flock together, often in preparation for migration. Reports included; one hundred Meadow Pipit on Cleats Shore on 2nd, sixty Manx Shearwater in Brodick Bay on 7th, two hundred and fifty Starling at Blackwaterfoot on 9th, one hundred Skylark on Cleats Shore on 12th, fifty Goldfinch at North Newton on 19th, two hundred Kittiwake in Catacol Bay on 20th, one hundred Linnet on Torrylinn Shore on 22nd, thirty Turnstone at Blackwaterfoot on 25th, one hundred Chaffinch at Torbeg on 26th, fifteen Golden Plover at Dougarie on 27th and 15 Mistle Thrush at Auchencar also on 27th.This gives an indication of the numbers of birds that are on the move at this time of year.
Over one hundred species were recorded on Arran in September. Other interesting sightings this month included: six Goosander off Pirnmill on 1st, three Little Grebe in Mossend Pond on 6th, two Yellowhammer at Tormore on 9th, one hundred Gannet in Catacol Bay on 29th, an adult white-tailed Eagle over Burrican Hill on 26th, a Kingfisher at Glenashdalewaterfoot also on 26th, one hundred Woodpigeon in Torbeg on 28th, ten Teal in Carlo on 29th and twenty-two Long-tailed Tit in High Kildonan on 29th. In addition, there were almost twenty reports of the diminutive Goldcrest including one in Cordon on 23rd. All three divers were also present in September including eleven Black-throated Diver off Cleiteadh Buidhe on 9th, five Red-throated Diver off Drumadoon Point on 10th and a Great Northern Diver off Newton Point on 19th.
Finally, my thanks to all the “volunteers” who took part in the Eider survey in September. There will be a brief report on this in the October Notes.