Sunday, 23 November 2014
A not bad day out here today considering it is almost the end of November... Bob today had 2 Chiffchaff in his garden, 3 Red grouse were seen on Bolsay Moor as was a ringtail Hen Harrier. Along on the strand/ top of Loch Indaal, Bob counted a group of 30 Turnstone along with 35 Dunlin. John Miles who was over last week sent through the highlights of his stay. Golden Eagles most days along with the odd White tailed Sea Eagle as well through his stay. John and his son had seen the Kingfisher at Bridgend as reported earlier, but they had spotted another up at Loch Skerrols on Wednesday, possibly the same bird, but they had heard a heard a Jay over at Margadale which is in from Bunnahabhain. More of John's sightings will be shared with you tomorrow night...
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Forgot to mention last night... Many thanks to Morven and her team from SNH for sharing with us the stats through for the International Goose count. Today, George had 5 Snipe down at Bruichladdich. There had been quite a few squally showers moving through the night last night, with the burn up a bit this morning. The long range forecast for Friday does not look good, rather wet to say the least, perhaps it is has its' advantages living on top of a hill sometimes!
Friday, 21 November 2014
Morven sent through the figures from the International goose count carried out earlier this week, the figures do not look too good...36,252 Barnies, 5,172 Greenland Whitefronts and 907 Greylags, the comparable count for last year was 46,931 Barnies and 5,888 Whitefronts. Out here on the machir this morning there were 128 Whitefronts along with 48 Barnies. At the same time in and around the feeders in the garden there were around 50 Chaffinches, 9 Goldfinches, 1 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Robin, 1 Blackbird with 3 Pheasants as well. The Fieldares and Redwings appear to be "staying" around a bit longer this Autumn, one welcome sign at least!
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Over the last couple of days the first "International" Goose count has been carried out. I have not heard through yet the tally but I heard that 6 Pinkies were amongst the Barnies down at Cornabus valley yesterday. Visiting birder, John Miles had seen an albino Reed Bunting down the same area, so possibly the same bird that Wally and Jude had tried to get an image of, but a van appeared of of nowhere and the bird flew off before Wally had a chance to snap it! Also yesterday, Mary had seen a Bean goose at Lyrabus around 10.30 in the morning before it flew away. Late afternoon another Bean goose (or was it the same one?) had been seen over close to Keills. Amongst the Barnies at Craigens, Mary had a Cackling goose as well as 3 large Canadas. Earlier, she had a huge Peregrine up behind Blackpark and and a dead Buzzard below the overhead wires there too. On her way round Mary also had a Kestrel at Leck Gruinart, 2 Ringtails at Mill cottage and up at Ardnave she counted 14 Ravens. Today beside the coalyard, a Sparrowhawk dropped out of the hedge and then we saw it a few seconds later as it flew past while we came up the road home. If you are around, it is that time again next week, with the monthly "meeting" of the Islay bird nerds. We are meeting centrally at the Gaelic college at 7.15pm when Ed from WWT will be giving us an update on his work on the Whitefronts. Ed was telling me this evening that they have caught and put collars on a further 8 geese along with transponders, so we will here more about them next week. so if you are are over next week, come along... This will be our last get together for 2014 with our next gathering will be at the end of January for a meal to sustain us all somewhere, sometime!
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Stop press - I have heard a report that a Rough Legged Buzzard has been seen near Port Charlotte. Keep a look out. That was James earlier on with the message... I have been off Islay down seeing family in Surrey for the past few days, so thanks to James for writing the blog in my absence. Down in Surrey, we had seen Jays, Grey Squirrels, Magpies, 7 together one day we were out. Another trip produced several Coots and Moorhens neither of which are that common to us, Green Parakeets with a lack of wee birds seen or not seen as was the case! The odd Starling was noted and a Robin...Back here this morning, in the machir adjacent to the house there were many Greenland whitefronted Geese along with some Barnies. Going down towards the Coastguards this morning, amongst the mixed flock of Starlings, Fieldfares and Redwings there was a leucistic Fieldfare. Armin spotted a ringtail Hen Harrier at the top of Loch Gorm with another over at Gruinart. On Monday evening, just at the darkening, he had an Otter over at Saligo Bay. This afternoon, a low flying fighter jet screamed over and put all the geese up and followed soon after by another, and they wonder how they get bird strikes!!!
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Another great day - Mary was goose counting all day around Gruinart and Ardnave got a few birds. Hen Harrier and Sparrowhawk at Gruinart, another Sparrowhawk at Lagstoban. At Ardnave - a Merlin, 50 Shags and 2 Cormorants. Last night at Gruinart a White Tailed Eagle and 2 Barn Owls on the Flats.
Monday, 17 November 2014
I have heard that a pod of Bottle Nosed Dolphins were in Loch Indaal yesterday afternoon chasing mackeral. Apparently putting on a good show. I have had a few sightings in from John and Ewan Miles on the 15th - off the Ferry they had 15+ Great Northern Divers, 15 Red Breasted Mergansers, 40+ Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, 2 Golden Eagles and 2 White Tailed Eagles 1 an adult with yellow tags. On the 16th (yesterday)- A Brambling Nr Bunahabhain, 2 Black Throated Divers, an juv White Tailed Eagle and a Minke Whale off Rubha Mhail. At Keills 140 Chaffinches and a Yellowhammer and at the head of Loch Indaal a Kingfisher and a male Merlin chasing a Meadow Pipit. At Gruinart today I have had 10,920 Barnacle Geese, 287 White fronts and 112 Greylags, as well as 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Black Tailed Godwits and a flock of 175 Lapwing.