Here in Lewis, we have recently had a number of sightings of a species of bird never previously seen on the island – the Glossy Ibis. There was one seen in Galson, about a week into the New Year, after which there were more sightings (probably the same bird) at Loch Stiapabhat Local Nature Reserve. Prior to that, in December, four Glossy Ibises were spotted in Callanish. It took them millions of years to discover the Isle of Lewis and then, all of a sudden, five of them turn up here within a month!
The Glossy Ibis, the most widespread ibis species, is to be found on all five continents and is migratory but breeds in warmer climates. While its numbers in Europe are generally in decline, it has recently established a successful breeding colony in southern Spain and it is becoming more common for a small number of birds from this colony to winter in Britain and Ireland. It is a fair assumption, therefore, that this is where our Lewis visitors came from and now, having saved this destination in their sat nav, we may be seeing more of them in future years.