Colonsay at Night

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I think most peoples perception of the undoubted beauty of Colonsay is limited to daylight , but, as a semi-nocturnal person by way of profession, I have always enjoyed being outdoors during the hours of darkness.

I always soaked up the tranquility of a Colonsay night, with very little in the way of manmade disturbance, and through this I became interested in Astronomy. I don’t think any Mainlander can be anything other than gobsmacked at the ...

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RSPB Nature Notes

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 RSPB wildlife notes July 

The warmer days of July saw the emergence of several butterfly species across both Colonsay and Oronsay. Flashes of blue can now be seen in the sand dunes with these being the beautiful common blue butterfly, whilst if you are lucky you may also spot a dark green fritillary fluttering hurriedly by. The meadows are now awash with both meadow browns and ringlets, which although not as stunning are still a delight ...

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RSPB Nature Notes

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The month of June has not felt particularly like summer, with strong Northerly winds and rain producing an almost autumnal feel to life. However, this has been interspersed with some calm and sunny days to remind us all that it is indeed summer.
Butterflies including small tortoiseshell, red admiral, small heath, small copper and the stunning marsh fritillary have been adding a splash of colour to life as they flutter by on warm sunny days. On the 23rd we made ...

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RSPB Nature Notes

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May was largely dominated by Northerly winds which slowed down spring migration, it felt more like autumn at times!

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We heard our first corncrake of the year on the 22nd of April and they really started making themselves known on Oronsay during the first few weeks of May with their distinctive ‘crex crex’ bring heard throughout the day and night. An initial survey ...

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RSPB Wildlife Note December/January

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Despite the persistent extreme weather over the last two months we’ve had some really spectacular wildlife sightings and encounters.

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We have had brilliant views of a pair of golden eagles over Benn Oronsay in the last month. We enjoyed watching them from the farm yard several times between the hail storms. Even some blue sky!
The colder conditions we’ve been experiencing ...

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RSPB Nature Notes

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This very popular feature was delayed due to ongoing broadband difficulties, but it is hoped that it can appear later.  If so, it will be in the “bells and whistles” version, but probably not in the pdf version which some people prefer on tablets etc. When it does appear, there will be mention on Friends of Colonsay, Facebook.  Incidentally, this seems a good opportunity to express our thanks to Izzy Baker for producing such a valuable and enjoyable column each ...

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RSPB Wildlife Notes

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An exciting arrival on the strand this month was a little egret. Only the third record for Colonsay & Oronsay, the egret has been seen feeding regularly in the shallow pools at low tide and has also been seen on the golf course once the tide is in. This compact, brilliantly white heron has black legs and bright yellow feet so is hard to miss. Only appearing in the UK for the first time in 1989 it has naturally begun ...

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A Rare Bird

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As Andrew Abrahams pointed out, lots of experts may have seen it, but he got the picture:

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He/she (?) is a snow bunting.  Arrived with a bunch of fieldfares and redwings and stayed for a few days.  David Jardine classes it as a “rare winter visitor”

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RSPB Nature Notes

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Early October saw the return of the Greenland barnacle geese to Colonsay and Oronsay. The highest count on Oronsay mid-way through the month was an amazing 2396 geese, which in one flock were quite the spectacle, on the ground and in the air.
The barnacle geese that winter here breed in Greenland. They make their nests on cliffs and stacks to avoid predators such as Arctic foxes.

Life Story BBC1 featured the incredible first steps of newly hatched barnacle geese, making ...

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Beached Whale

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A whale beached at Port Lobh recently and it seemed possible that it was an accidental stranding.  A very large number of people gave of their time to help keep it moist and as calm as possible; obviously expert advice was sought and followed throughout.  Because of tidal conditions the only hope of survival meant that it would have to be moved, a more difficult task than one might guess.  Joe used the Kiloran equipment with extraordinary dexterity and sensitivity ...

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Nature Notes – From The RSPB

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At the beginning of the month we did a survey of common seals on the Strand and counted 40 adults and over 25 pups. On the strand it is also possible to see migrating species like green shank and curlew which have been spotted passing through.
The arctic terns have successfully bred on Eilean Ghaoideamal and raised a minimum of 31 juveniles. The day these youngsters were surveyed, two swifts were also spotted off the island. A young whooper swan ...

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Kiloran Hedgehog – Latest News

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Despite being fantastic animals with an essential function in the right environment, hedgehogs are not a native species to Colonsay and Oronsay. By Scottish law they should remain that way. No new information on how the creature ended up at Kiloran has come to light.
The introduction of hedgehogs has had severe consequences on other West coast islands. Hedgehogs are ground predators for many ground nesting birds such as lapwing, dunlin and redshank. These birds have suffered declines due to ...

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Nature Notes – From the RSPB

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So far summer on Colonsay and Oronsay has been full of sightings both expected and unexpected. We have two new breeding species for the reserve- a pair of sparrowhawks and great skuas. Izzy had a great sighting of two storm petrels off the southern coast while fishing, and a few days ago I spotted a swift flying over our silage fields.
We have managed to do some moth trapping here and were pleasantly surprised to find a small elephant hawkmoth ...

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Seabird Tracking

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For the fifth year running the RSPB Seabird Tracking and Research (STAR) team has returned to Colonsay for the summer months. This year the team consists of Tessa Cole, who is well known to many residents after four seasons on the island and Ruth Brown, who is new to the project but has previously worked on seabird tracking studies in both Antarctica and Hawaii. Tessa and Ruth will be working at the seabird cliffs on the west coast of the ...

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