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Birds of Assynt: An Annotated Checklist contains notes on 210 species of birds that have been recorded in Assynt in recent decades. In the present state of our knowledge we cannot be definite about the local status of all of them. However, 107 may reasonably be called regular breeders, either as residents or summer visitors. There are a further 20 regular winter visitors, and about 40 which appear to be passage migrants, some regular, others infrequent or rare.
The remaining 43 species fall into a range of categories. Some are best described as vagrants, whose presence here may relate to unusual weather conditions, and which a stay-at-home bird watcher may only see once in a life-itime. The records of others require confirmation; some, such as Black Grouse, may be extinct in Assynt.
Vittery (1997) records 284 species for Sutherland as a whole, so there is plenty of scope for increasing the Assynt list. There are, for example, recent records from Scourie and Handa Island, only a few miles to the north, of at least 20 species that could occur in or off the coasts of Assynt. They include Great and Little Shearwaters, Montagu’s Harrier, Long-tailed Skua, Bluethroat, Trumpeter Finch, Scarlet Rosefinch and Ortolan Bunting. While the first edition of this list was in preparation, the first White Stork for Assynt was spotted at Lochinver.