Many birds on the move during migration

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Bird Notes for September by Jim Cassels

The weather in September was almost identical to August in terms of mean temperature and rainfall. In comparison to last September, it was warmer and drier. September was generally dry and settled. September is the start of the peak migration season when many birds are on the move. The weather was conducive for watching this migration.

Birds on migration included: 21 white wagtail on Sliddery Shore on 2nd, four common scoter off Pirnmill on 6th, 12 dunlin at Drumadoon Point on 8th, two sandwich tern in Brodick Bay on 10th, one knot on Cleats Shore on 12th, one whimbrel and seven wheatear on Cleats Shore on 18th, one sanderling at Drumadoon Point on 23rd and two reports of Arctic skua in Brodick Bay one on 7th and one on 23rd.

At this time of year birds begin to flock together, often in preparation for migration. Reports included: 199 goldfinch by Torrylinn shore on 8th, 120 kittiwake at Blackwaterfoot on 10th, 70 starling on Silver Sands on 11th, 100 shag by Pladda on 12th, 144 golden plover and 90 ringed plover at Machriewaterfoot on 12th, 300 linnet and 200 greylag geese on Cleats Shore also on 12th, 150 common gull at Blackwaterfoot on 20th, 31 oystercatcher at Whitefarland on 24th and 12 turnstone on Sliddery Shore also on 24th.This gives an indication of the numbers of birds that are on the move at this time of year.

In September there were reports of returning winter visitors including: one wigeon on Sliddery Shore on 2nd, 41 pink-footed geese flying over Kildonan on 5th, eight rook on Cleats Shore on 12th, 30 whooper swan over Drumadoon on 25th and six brent geese at Thunderguy on 29th. This goose will feature in the next Banner bird note.

A number of summer visitors were still around in September including: two lesser black-backed gull at Kilpatrick Point on 1st, one willow warbler at Auchencar on 7th, one whitethroat on Cleats Shore on 12th and two chiffchaff in Glen Rosa on 20th. For house martin, the largest September record was 50 at the Auchrannie on 7th and the latest one was 10 in Corrie on 22nd. For Swallow the largest group was 200 in Blackwaterfoot on 9th and the latest one was four in Sliddery on 30th. October should see the last of the house martins, swallows and other summer visitors departing south.

Around 100 species were recorded on Arran in September. Other interesting sightings this month included: three common crossbill in Brodick on 6th, one twite on Cleats Shore on 12th, two Goosander at Machriewaterfoot also on 12th, a Little Grebe on Cleats Shore on 18th, two treecreeper in Glen Rosa on 20th, 12 long-tailed tit at Silver Sands on 29th and 10 gannet off Porta Buidhe also on 29th. Gannet will soon be heading south for the winter. To conclude this section, on 17th people travelling on the school bus had a close encounter with an adult white-tailed eagle being mobbed by gulls close to Thunderguy.

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.

Enjoy your birding and keep safe.

Please send any bird notes with ‘what, when, where’ to me at Kilpatrick Kennels, Kilpatrick, Blackwaterfoot, KA27 8EY, or e mail me at I look forward to hearing from you. For more information on birding on Arran purchase the Arran Bird Report 2020 and the Arran Bird Report, the first 40 years. Plus visit the website

  • The 20 years ago feature will be back next week.


Wheatear is one of a number of species migrating along our coast at this time of year. Photo Nick Giles NO_B42notes01

Golden plover begin to flock together at this time of year. Photo David Kilpatrick  NO_B42notes02

Pink-footed geese are a regular winter visitor. Photo Brian Couper NO_B42notes03

Just a few lingering swallow now. Photo Helen Logan NO_B42notes04

Gannet will soon be heading south. Photo Dennis Morrison NO_B42notes05

White-tailed eagle gave good views from the road on the west coast to those in the school bus. Photo Helen Logan NO_B42notes06