Little egret getting familiar with Lamlash Bay

Little egret is becoming quite a familiar sight round Lamlash Bay. Photo Nick Giles

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Bird Notes January by Jim Cassels

In comparison to last January, January 2022 was warmer and drier. The mean temperature was 3.7 degrees higher. The rainfall was about 30 per cent less.

The weather was benign except for the last weekend when there were two named storms. Almost 100 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 17 reports from 12 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 38 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: 95 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, 350 greylag geese in Shiskine Valley on 16th, four goldeneye on Mossend Pond on 18th, 46 wigeon at Kilpatrick Point on 19th and 89 teal also at Kilpatrick Point on 21st.

Other wintering species included: nine yellowhammer in Sliddery on 2nd, one jack snipe on Sliddery Shore on 5th, 10 brambling in Cordon also on 5th, two rook on Braehead Farm on 6th, 60 redwing in Sliddery on 9th, 200 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, 20 pied wagtail in Porta Buidhe on 15th, 92 ringed plover and 23 turnstone in Blackwaterfoot on 21st, 40 golden plover at Machriewaterfoot on 22nd, 12 bullfinch at Fairy Dell on 22nd, 150 jackdaw in Shannochie on 23rd, 32 oystercatcher on Brodick Golf Course on 28th and 350 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, 52 eider courting off Pirnmill on 22nd and six red-breasted merganser displaying in Sannox Bay on 23rd. But the winter is not over yet.

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