Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Weds 6 July

Ring-tailed hen harrier over Keills yesterday, clinging tightly to its lunch! Thanks Billy as always for the photo.

An other autumns day in summer today, although it was warmer for sure the wind just didn't let up all day. Just beyond the lighthouse island Orsay over a dozen gannet were flying close to the waves.  The Arctic terns are still very active and noisy and a smaller group of 8 or so came over the 'wee beach' in Port Wemyss to check us out. Something else I have noticed at Claddach is the resident gull colony are more frantic in their morning hunt for scraps. A tradition at the croft that has gone on for decades, I still throw them a couple heels of bread when I have it. Often it is just a couple of herring gulls and maybe 4 common gull at most. But the gulls are waiting for me lately and 'begging' for the food.  I've not known them so hungry before.

Alan kindly added their highlights from yesterday: On the RSPB guided walk on The Oa, 2 golden eagle, 5+twite, 2 wheatear, 2 black guillemot.  Dunyveig Castle, 2 rock pipit. Bruichladdich from the cottage window one curlew, one common sandpiper, one ringed plover and 3 black guillemot.


Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Tuesday 5 July

Tuesday brings us some sad news in the form of bird flu having apparently reached our shores.  We had a barnacle goose with a positive result back in February but no suspicious deaths since. However, today was a report of a number of guilliemot washed up dead on Machir Bay, and apparently Kintra too.  

Mark Shields writes: I had a couple of reports of dead birds at Machir Bay, two estimates between 10 and 15 on the southern half of the beach. I went this morning and found 4 pretty quickly, so have reported to DEFRA. All were adult guillemots and all were fairly recently dead. It’s not uncommon to find guillemot ‘wrecks’, and there’s a variety of possible reasons, but with the current bird flu spread it’s worth reporting anything similar to DEFRA on 03459 335577. More info at the link below. Advice remains to not touch any sick or dying birds, and to keep dogs on leads.

Sadly there wasn't much other sightings reported today were other dead seabirds as a result of this sobering news. Apart from a crossbill over the Dower House, as seen by Mary-Ann and a curlew up at Claddach this evening. First for a while.


Monday, 4 July 2022

Monday 4 July

Well, what a lovely start to September we are enjoying in July! Still, I suppose we can't complain when we see the state of other corners of the world.  In short it was a rubbish day.  I nearly stumbled upon an eider duck near Port Wemyss, obviously a bit poorly given its movements.  On the nearby Lighthouse Island of Orsay, the Arctic Tern colony were making a huge commotion. From a distance there looked to be around 40 in the air.  Up at Claddach yesterday, a common sandpiper took the time to fly up from the beach to the house, where it sat atop a fence post alarm calling at me.  Despite the distance it evidently thought I was too close!  Also a pair of chough flying over my inby fields towards the loch, perhaps going up for a drink.

Billy was out on one of his hikes, this time to Loch Nam Ban, near Ardnahoe. He sent in some lovely images of a grey wagtail and a whinchat which I have shared with you here.

Alan is over with his partner this week and has shared his first day's highlights. Kilchoman Church, one chough, 2 twite, 5 raven. Kilchoman Distillery, one twite. Bruichladdich, one red-breasted merganser, one black guillemot.  Many thanks.

Ed reports of a sad Greenland Whitefront goose at Cornabus.  

Sightings are thin on the ground, but it not because of the lack of activity, simply a cause of lack of time for the local birders.  We are well into the summer season, despite my weather reports!  So any and all sightings from visitors are always a welcome addition.


Saturday, 2 July 2022

Saturday 2nd July

Hee-haw to report today, other than a hunting barn owl and a little egret, both at Loch Gruinart. Neither of which would pose for a photo 30cm away, so you'll have to make do with this late instar forest bug/red-legged shield bug at Gruinart the other day...

...which will eventually turn into this guy...

Friday, 1 July 2022

Friday July 1

 Pinch and a punch for the first of the month! A generally nice day and decent start to the month.  A little chill come the evening though reminding us not to get too carried away, and a damp weekend ahead to dampen my optimism for shearing.

Out walking along the coastline here on the Rhinns, it was nice to see the gannets in their steady numbers going north and south between fishing grounds and Ailsa Craig. Especially given the devastation bird flu is causing in other bird colonies such as the gannet colony on Bass Rock, and in the skua population on St Kilda.

James reported this years rainfall figure for June as 75mm, 15mm up from same time last year.  


Thursday, 30 June 2022

Thursday 30 June

 Last day of June, hard to believe! Local school holidays start at lunchtime tomorrow, after which there is chaos on Islay beaches for 6 weeks.

Billy was out at Kilchoman today and noted plenty of sand martins about, as well as rock pipit, meadow pipit, oystercatcher and mixed finch flocks.  As ever, thank you for sharing the photos.

Driving up to Claddach today, there was big numbers of mixed swallow, house and sand Martin at the loch as well as meadow pipit and skylark dust bathing on the road.

Last night James had a sighting of a dark-phase Arctic Skua, a little egret and a barn owl at Loch Gruinart.
This morning on the Oa, Dave W reported a large flock of 22 mistle thrush in woodland near his house.  ('woodland' is perhaps generous/optimistic term of trees on the windswept Oa). Gary reports of Osprey again near Ballygrant, and the rose coloured starling on the shore near the water treatment at Bowmore.

Thanks to all for their sightings.  


Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Wednesday 29 June

 Billys photos today of an unfortunate blackbird with a likely life-shortening deformity. It has made it to fledgling and the parents are still feeding it, but I think it is unlikely to survive independently.

A much brighter day today, I saw pairs of chough at Ellister and Port Wemyss enjoying the change.  Elsewhere on the island Gary spotted 2 separate Ospreys in the Ballygrant area. While David D. noted 3 juvenile greenfinch, a male linnet, 4 twite, and a male reed bunting at The Oa RSPB carpark.