Wednesday, 22 October 2014
The wind may have dropped since yesterday, but it is still quite windy, and as far as I know, the ferries resumed their normal timetable again.... Back on Monday, the East Anglian birders had seen 2 Pect. Sandpipers along with some Snipe out from the old hide at Gruinart and yesterday they returned and found another out from the new hide and also there were some Redshank, 6 Greenshank and 8 Pintail. Up at Bridgend/ Blackrock area, 65 Scaup and 2 RB Merganser were present. Yesterday, David Protherough had seen 8 Whoopers over Kilnaughton Bay and up on the reserve on the Oa, a male Hen Harrier while on the loch at Kinnabus, Greylags and Whitefronts were seen while back down at the Maltings at Port Ellen, 2 Pale bellied Brent have been present over the past few days. Yesterday,the Horwich birders had a flock of over 300 Golden Plover over at Ballinaby. Amongst the Barnies out in front of the new hides they managed to read some Darvic rings and Steve Percival duly was able to say that one of the geese was rung 10 years ago, one of a small flock of "wandrers" that are seen around Islay while another one was very "faithful" to where it was seen, being rung 5 years ago, another was quite faithful too but was in Ireland earlier this year! The last goose was only rung 2 years ago and Steve did not have so many sightings of it on his database! Thinking back, I asked Steve about the Barnie that turned up a few years back in New York, it was seen quite often that winter in the States but not seen since! From the old hide the Horwich birders yesterday morning had seen a male Hen Harrier, Peregrine, 5 Whoopers, along with Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Whitefronts, Barnies, Heron, Curlew and Lapwing. From the new hide, they had good close sightings of Whitefronts, Barnies, Greylags, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Wigeon, Curlew and Snipe. A Redwing and 2 Roe Deer were seen along the woodland trail as they returned to their car. Last night as we headed dopwn to Port Charlotte, just before we entered Bruichladdich, a Barn Owl was perched on a fence post at the side of the road, the first we had seen for some time, but then again perhaps we should go out more often, rather than being housebound! This morning in the garden, there was a small flockof 37 Redwings for a short time. Robin this morning had 2 flocks of Golden Plovers over at Ballinaby, each over 200. He also had 2 Golden Eagles between Sunderland and the Gruinart turnoff, one a "well marked" immature Eagle, the other an adult bird. Later on, Robin had a Coot up on Ardnave Loch.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Some sightings for you from yesterday as I do not think there will be many coming in tonight due to the high winds... the ferry never came although the plane through this morning, mind you I do not think it would be a calm flight!! The Horwich birders had seen 11 adult Whoopers along with 4 young down at Rockside. On Loch Gorm they counted 105 Tufted Duck and also a Pochard. A male Merlin was seen over the coalyard. Late morning over at Claggain Bay, they had a GND with 4 Reed Buntings at the Ardtalla gate. On the beach below Ardtalla, 2 Mute Swans were present ,12 Whoopers along with 12 RB Merganser, a Heron and also a Buzzard. Kilnaugton Wood held 2 Goldcrest and 2 Buzzards just after lunchtime. Late afternoon, on the edge of the merse at Bridgend, 13 Pale bellied Brents were seen and finally down on Machir Bay, 35 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and 4 Chough were noted. New visiting birders from East Anglia had been down on the Oa where they counted 350 Redwing together in a flock, 2 Merlin, 2 Hen Harriers, 2000 Barnies, 1000 Greylags, 6 Whitefronts, 2 Chough, 6 Whoopers and 2 Mistle Thush. I also bumped into a group from Speyside Wildlife led by John Picton and Darren Rees who are over for a few days, bet you never made Jura today!!! They had seen a Canada Goose amongst the Barnies down below Rocksidetowards the Coastguards Houses. Today Robin from Malham Tarn had seen some flocks of Chaffinches, after Ardbeg out towards Claggain Bay and he was saying that there had been the odd Brambling in each flock.
Monday, 20 October 2014
Sunday, 19 October 2014
From the ferry yesterday as they returned back to Kennacraig, Andrew and Jane had over 100 Kittiwakes and an Arctic Skua. George Newall had seen 3 Snow Buntings and a count of 52 Chough up at Ardnave, not sure exactly when as I think that George headed back to Dunoon the other day. Visitor Danny had seen 2 Peregrine upsetting the Rock Doves up behind Machir Bay and round the other side of Loch Gorm, close to Ballinaby, a juvenile Golden Eagle. This afternoon we had a few Whitefronts at Ballinaby mixed in with the Greylags, 2 of the Whitefronts had neck collars and another was wearing a transponder, must mind my scope so I can read the said collars Ed! Steve Percival had another one with a transponder over at Gruinart which James told us was one the Ed fitted last winter and was often seen in a tight location throughout, once it had been "fitted". We also saw a few Brent just coming out of Bowmore and the Barnies at the head of Loch Indaal being pushed in with the rising tide.. James saw 2 Pinkies amongst the Barnies on the reserve. Robin from Malham Tarn had see a Merlin from the new hide as well as 2 Grey Plover. Returning along through the "woodland trail" Robin reported the trees were "full of Goldcrest" and he also had 2 Treecreepers there as well. On the Bridgend Flats, Robin saw a further 2 Grey Plover, a ringtail Hen Harrier, Knot around 20 Pale bellied Brents and also Common Scoter.
Saturday, 18 October 2014
Yesterday, Andy and Jane from Bowland had their last full day on Islay before heading home today. At Octomore yesterday, they had Redwings, Reed Buntings, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Goldfinches and Chaffinches. Later on from the old hide at Gruinart, they saw 3 Shoveler, 15 Pintail and 12 Snipe and along at the new hide, amongst the Barnies they had a Pinkfoot, several Brent Geese before a White tailed Sea Eagle came along and put the whole lot up in the air. The big bird then flew across the loch in the direction of Craigens. They also had a Barnie with a darvic ring on, so once I hear back from Steve Percival, we will know more about it! On Loch Gruinart itself, they had the large flock of Golden Plover, 30 Sanderling and 3 Grey Plover with Tufted Duck seen on Loch Gorm as well. In all during their stay, Andy & Jane had 102 species seen, thanks for sharing your birds, just great... Today, James returned from his week away, from the ferry in West Loch Tarbert, he saw a Velvet Scoter, an Otter in the Sound of Islay and at Lyrabus a Merlin was seen. Changeover day today, with the birders today, so may well get some new contributors tomorrow...
Friday, 17 October 2014
Yesterday the " Bowland birders" had been out round the Rhinns, a quieter day compared with their trip earlier on this week, but they still managed to see a Golden Eagle, in the forest at Ballimony, Siskins and Redpolls were both seen, round at Gearach they saw a small flock of 8 Fieldfare. Finally back on the hill at Octomore, 7 Common Snipe, a Mistle Thrush and a pair of Stonechats. Emily last night had spotted an Otter over at Killinallan. Robin from close to Settle in Yorkshire returning for another return Autumn to Islay. Yesterday from the afternoon ferry, Robin had an Arctic Skua. Today at Blackrock, he saw 3 Long tailed ducks, 2 Slavonian grebes and a small raft of 45 Scaup. Over on Loch Gruinart, he had a count of 550 Golden Plover. He also had 2 Pink footed Geese, 3 Greenshank and also 31 Pale bellied Brent. Emily today has been cross eyed counting geese with her tally coming through at 22,908 Barnies, there may have been more as Emily said the geese were quite mobile, moving around... She also counted 164 Whitefronts, 137 Greylags and 16 Whoopers. On the loch, the flock of 550 Golden Plover along with Barwits, Sanderling and Curlew. On the floods there appeared to be a big rise in numbers of Teal and Wigeon today. Mary had seen a Grey Wagtail at the silage pit on the reserve, up at Nave Island a pod of Dolphins and also 50 Twite at Ardnave. At Lyrabus, Mary had 2 Yellowhammers and over 40 Skylarks together in a flock. Emily was also saying that the Geese and Whoopers are still arriving by the day with more Redwing seen around today.
Thursday, 16 October 2014
A big bumper edition tonight, so here goes, it's great when you all send in your sightings.. Earlier this week, think it was either Monday or Tuesday, the blog was hit by 414 folk looking at it on the one day....Andrew and Jane (the Bowland birders)Had seen 27 Scaup and a Goldeneye at Blackrock. At Loch Skerrols and the surrounding woods, they had 50 Greenland Whitefronts, 4 Canada (large), 1 Pinkfooted Goose, 3 Dabchick, 4 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 15 Mute Swan, 12 Woodpigeon, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Long tailed Tit, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Coal Tit and a Goldcrest. On the River Sorn, a Dipper and a Grey Wagtail were seen with pr of Mistle Thrush nearby. Emily had 3 Golden Eagles down on the Oa on the guided walk on Tuesday, at Kilnaughton Bay, she counted 8 GND. This morning, Bob had a large flock of Redwing up behind Port Charlotte. They appeared to be coming out from roosting in the trees around Gearach, in his garden alone, Bob counted 48 Redwing and 20 Blackbirds! Alan and Jill from Arran who are staying with Carl, had a flock of 600 Redwing at Kildalton and a House Martin at Craigens. Carl himself had 4 Herons at An Toran as well as 7 Whoopers also there. Mary had a Chiffchaff on the Moorland trail, along the flats at Gruinart, 9 Snipe were in a "loose flock". The Brambling was still present amongst the flock of Chaffinches. Going up to Ardnave, a Kestrel, a male Hen Harrier was spotted and 2 Chough were seen soon after. On the guided walk this morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen, 25 Pale bellied Brent Geese with also 15 Red legged partridges (? released birds). On the floods Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Shoveler were present while out on the loch, a lonesome Black Guillemot was not looking too happy as it was getting surrounded by GBB Gulls and Hoodies, did not hear the final outcome! Here at home this morning, while I was looking out the window, the wee birds, well all the birds cleared off the feeders, and hey presto a male Sparrowhawk stopped by for a few moments perching on top of the small fence less than 15 feet away!!! Coming home from Port Charlotte this afternoon, a Stoat hopped out on the road, saw us coming and did a u turn and jumped back into the verge, it had a lbj (Little brown job) in its' mouth, of the furry kind rather than of the the feathered ilk! Emily was also saying that a juv Golden Eagle has been seen regularly out from the Visitor Centre at Gruinart, wonder if it is keeping an eye on the geese!!! Wally was telling me today of another visiting birder had seen a Kigfisher down close to the mouth of the River Sorn. Wally himself the other day had seen 2 Grey Plover on Loch Gruinart, and he is now up to 98 species seen, wonder if he can get to 100 before he leaves...