Two days of dreadful weather - wet and windy - with no observations of note.
Thursday 7 December 2023
Another unpleasant day, starting grey, wet and windy and finishing not much better.
No bird news, but a request from RSPB's Louise Muir for some volunteers to help plant Corncrake cover on the RSPB's Loch Gruinart reserve next week. Lets hope that the weather has improved by then..........
Wednesday 6 December 2023
A distinct change in the weather for the worse today. Showers, windy, cold and uninviting to be outside - and nobody was!
I noted 43 Whooper Swans at the top of loch Indaal this morning on my way to Bowmore - they seemed to be happy to be wintering there this year, which is slightly different as most pass through without stopping this long.
Tuesday 5 December 2023
Two further days of cold, but fine weather. Today in particular was a wonderful winter's day with bright blue skies, calm conditions and a nip in the air. That hasn't encouraged many folk to get out and go birding, though our local stalwart Mary Redman reported a White-tailed Eagle at Claddach this morning and a male Hen Harrier at Port Wemyss.
David Wood had been busy last week when Jamie Dunning, who is doing a long-term study of Twite came back to Islay for his annual winter attempt to catch and ring some of our birds. David notes that "we colour ringed 67 Twite last week at Kinnabus. These are all metal over colour ring on left leg and 2 colours on the other leg – hopefully more noticeable than the previous 2 letter/number codes. If people could keep an eye out for these around Islay and beyond as time passes that would be great, although most are still hanging around at The Oa at present". So if you see any marked birds, please let David or the Blog know.
David also commented: "We only have a flock of about 80 birds this year (at The Oa) and we ringed virtually all of them. Jamie had a big flock near Machir Bay on the stubbles, so worth keeping an eye out there if you are that way".
There is also a request for help with an upcoming BTO survey of winter gulls. David is in need of help with carrying out the counts. He notes: "They are random samples of coastline which I’m currently trying to get BTO to change to make them a bit more doable and to include the heads of Loch Indaal and Loch Gruinart. If anyone can offer some support for this survey and go out and count a few gulls this winter it would be much appreciated".
Sunday 3 December 2023
Another couple of days of bright, sunny, but cold, frosty weather on Islay with nobody venturing out birding. There is a sprinkle of snow on the top of the Paps on Jura, but nothing like the snow being experienced elsewhere in UK. Armin Grewe sent in this picture of what the wintering geese in Cumbria are having to deal with at the moment - aren't our Barnies lucky to be here and not there!
Friday 1 December 2023
Thursday 30 November 2023
Further lovely bright, sunny, dry, cold and "crisp" weather today with a frost and even a suggestion of ice covering some of the smaller lochans.
Ed Burrell reported 3 Jack Snipe at Cornabus, otherwise, all the reported action was on the western side of the island. Gary Turnbull was out watching at the top of Loch Indaal where he noted 2-3 White-tailed Eagles hunting and sat on the exposed sand flats up near Bridgend. Here too he noted a Little Egret, Snow Bunting, 2 Brambling amongst 100+ Chaffinches and over 800 Dunlin and 100 Golden Plover at Carnain, with a Golden Eagle up at Carrabus.
I was back and forth to Bowmore in late morning and counted 40+ Whooper Swans and 20 Brent Geese still present, feeding with masses of Wigeon in Loch Indaal from the Gaelic college.
Stuart Meredith had a further 2 White-tailed Eagles up at Gruinart, one of which took a Herring Gull for lunch! Also note were single Greenshank and later a Jack Snipe at dusk off the shoreline at Bruichladdich.