• Please be aware that avian influenza has been confirmed in the Western Isles. Great Skua and Gannet are the worst affected currently but a range of other bird species can be infected. Please avoid contact with dead birds, give sick and dying birds space, keep dogs on leads and report all instances of five or more dead birds of one species to Defra (03459 335577).

  • When here in the Outer Hebrides and looking at a bird, have you ever wondered how rare it is? The status of all species can vary enormously from island to island. How rare is Shoveler on Barra, has Stock Dove been seen on Harris, does Dotterel occur on Benbecula in the autumn, and how common is Blue Tit on North Uist? Well, fret no longer! The Status and Distribution of birds here on the Outer Hebrides has been completely updated and summarised for every species and each of the main islands and outliers. Available as an online resource at https://status.outerhebrides-birdreports.org/ or via our shop

    New - now available as an ebook

Patch Birding Yvonne's Patchwork Challenge 2019


OH Bird Recorder
So, after being really busy and not taking part in this annual challenge at all last year (and being a total slacker in 2017) I thought i would give it another go this year - partly because i'm also taking part in the #walk1000miles challenge. I thought that the two challenges would go very well together - I might as well make the most of all that trundling round the patch and tick off some birds as I go...

Progress so far in 2019:-

Had a good bash at this on the 1st January, a good start to the year :)

1. Starling
2. Blackbird
3. Robin
4. Greylag Goose
5. Wren
6. Redwing
7. Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon
8. Song Thrush
9. Buzzard
10. Curlew
11. Common Gull
12. Lapwing
13. Great Black-backed Gull
14. Oystercatcher
15. Eider
16. Cormorant
17. Great Northern Diver
18. Raven
19. Red-breasted merganser
20. Herring Gull
21. Twite
22. Golden Plover
23. Teal
24. Mute Swan
25. Whooper Swan
26. Hen Harrier
27. Mallard
28. Goldeneye
29. Tufted duck
30. Wigeon
31. Sanderling
32. Ringed Plover
33. Greenfinch
34. Little Grebe
35. Turnstone
36. Purple Sandpiper
37. Dunlin
38. Goldfinch
39. Reed Bunting
40. House sparrow
41. Chaffinch
42. Long-tailed Duck
43. Skylark

6th January

44. Bar-tailed Godwit
45. Collared dove

7th January

46. Dunnock

9th January

47. Snipe

11th January

48. Fieldfare
49. Golden Eagle

13th January

50. Pintail
51. Hooded Crow

So, as of today i'm on 51 species and 60 points.

How does this compare to final totals in previous years?

2013: 106 species, 140 points
2014: 97 species, 133 points
2015: 98 species, 125 points
2016: 87 species, 114 points
2017: 71 species, 90 points
2018 did not participate

Patchwork Challenge (PWC) information:-

PWC website
PWC blog
PWC Facebook group
PWC Twitter

Other active Patch birders in the Outer Hebrides:-

Mister T (South Uist)
Bruce (two patches in Barra)
Tristan (two patches in Lewis)
Bill (South Uist)


Being battered by the wind and scoping the ducks, swans and geese on Loch Hallan this afternoon.


As it was so windy all the gulls were hanging out on the machair side of the dunes.


OH Bird Recorder
Bit of an update on this after an extended period off-island.

18th April
52. Willow Warbler
53. Stonechat

19th April
54. Grey Heron

24th April
55. Lesser Redpoll
56. Chiffchaff
57. Blackcap
58. Swallow
59. Short-eared Owl

29th April
60. Pink-footed Goose

30th April
61. Mealy Redpoll
62. Pied Wagtail
63. Meadow Pipit
64. Arctic Tern
65. Black-headed Gull
66. Redshank
67. Whimbrel
68. Moorhen
69. Shoveler
70. Shelduck

1st May
71. Wheatear
72. Sand Martin
73. Gannet

My score now stands at 73 species and 87 points so i've already beaten my 2017 totals :)


Sand Martins today new for my 2019 patchlist. Getting some practice in photographing birds in flight...


Whimbrel yesterday (30th April)


From the patch, looking south towards Barra


OH Bird Recorder
2nd May
74. Cuckoo
75. Corncrake
76. Linnet

And this is how the Islands Minileague stands at the 1st May (taken from the Patchwork Challenge website)
As you can see the Outer Hebrides is well represented with four out of the top six island patches being in our islands. Bruce is setting a cracking lead here in the OH with both of his patches - Ardmhor and Brevig taking up the top two places with Tristan's patch in Stornoway a fairly close third.

It's all a bit of fun and i'm just trying to beat my previous years patch totals - I think I probably have no chance of catching John Bowler (Tireebirder) who is once again in the top spot or Scott Reid who is in the Isles of Scilly. The thing I really like is that it just gets you out there!


Still feeling a bit rough with the shingles so I drove down to the shore and sat for a while in the sun.



OH Bird Recorder
77. Sedge Warbler

Arrived home from a week away in Lewis and a Sedge Warbler was heard singing away in a nearby garden making 77 species for the year on the patch (and 92 points so far). :)


OH Bird Recorder
79. Lesser Black-backed Gull - these have been in short supply on the patch this year.
80. Common Sandpiper - at last! Everyone else has been seeing and hearing these on the patch apart from me :)


New Member
77. Sedge Warbler

Arrived home from a week away in Lewis and a Sedge Warbler was heard singing away in a nearby garden making 77 species for the year on the patch (and 92 points so far). :)
For the past two mornings a sedge warbler has been singing his heart out from about first light and keeping going for 6hrs plus! Near the BASF factory on the main road at Breascleit


OH Bird Recorder
For the past two mornings a sedge warbler has been singing his heart out from about first light and keeping going for 6hrs plus! Near the BASF factory on the main road at Breascleit

Thanks Mark, hopefully he will soon find a mate! Sedge Warbler still singing here in Uist too with two heard yesterday when I was out around the patch.


OH Bird Recorder
83. Merlin

This species has evaded me until today! This takes me to 100 points for the year and I should now, once the PWC website updates, be in 10th place on the Islands Mini League - unless Sean on the Isle of Rum has added anything today...


OH Bird Recorder
84. White-tailed Eagle

Can't believe it's nearly 5 months since i added a species to my patch list - the downside of running a seasonal business I guess is that I don't have so much time to get out and about :(


OH Bird Recorder
86. Waxwing

I was really happy to get this on my Patch list - it was definitely worth putting some apples out - the Blackbirds love them and the Blackcap has also visited this week. Bill and Ian had both had a very brief glimpse of a Waxwing from next door early last week, it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived and I was a bit miffed to have missed it... At least this one hung around enough for me to dash out into the gloomy and drizzle and get a photograph :)



OH Bird Recorder
88. Goldcrest.

Trapped and ringed. Actually the second that has been in the garden in two days - I missed the one that @MisterT caught yesterday as I had to go and do the weekly shop. Yesterday's bird already had a ring on - it was originally ringed in Barra by Mark on 13th October 2019 at Creachan!


OH Bird Recorder
So that's how the 2019 ended for me, I wasn't able to add anything else before the end of December. I'll do a summary of how everyone in the Outer Hebrides did once the information is available on the Patchwork Challenge website.


OH Bird Recorder
I had hope to write a summary of how everyone here got on with Patchwork challenge in 2019 but the information seems to have gone awol from their website - if things change at some stage i'll update here.

I ended 2019 with 90 species and a score of 116
@MisterT ended the year way ahead of me with 111 species and 150 points

@Bruce has two patches in Barra and as far as I remember he got on really well - maybe he'll post and let me know how he got on.

@Bill Neill didn't update his patch list during the latter part of the year but is participating fully in 2020