For too many years I've been whizzing through Skye on my way to or from the Outer Hebrides with occasional visits to the Black Cuillin for some superb mountaineering but very little in the way of birding. This weekend I went to Sabhal Mor Ostaig for a mini SOC conference arranged by Bob McMillan (of Skye Birds) and Jane Cleaver from the SOC. The line up of talks on Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles, Corncrakes and Manx Shearwaters all sounded pretty interesting and very relevent to the immediate area and although Gaelic Bird Names by Tristan ap Rheinallt maybe relevent it didn't stir much in the way of exciting anticipcation in me.....how wrong I was! All the talks were excellent and fascinating but the delivery and dry wit of a Welsh man telling us about Gaelic bird names and their relevance to past bird distribution really was my first revelation of the weekend as to how interesting - (yes, that was the word I wanted to use), the subject actually is. The second revelation came the following day when we spent a couple of hours with Bob McMillan birding between Broadford and Portree. In the couple of hours we managed to pick up 8 Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, a couple of small groups of Whooper Swans (flying over), 6 White-fronted Geese, no less than 8 Golden Eagles and around 40 Waxwings; not forgetting 2 otters and numerous Fieldfare and Redwing. It really was a good morning out.
I'll certainly be heading back to Skye before too long and hope to start taking tours that include this fascinating isle in 2014.