Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Wednesday 29th July

A better sort of a day, possibly with no rain here if memory serves me correctly, even managed to cut the grass amongst other outside jobs!!!Mark from the Scottish Borders had seen a couple of Peregrines while out round the Rhinns today, later on he had a ringtail Hen Harrier at Gruinart. Here at home, there was a peregrine out over the crag. Earlier on there were 10 Chough doing their acrobatics, great to see them.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tuesday 28th July

Rather a miserable sort of a day with rain, more rain and even more rain, infact rather a wet sort of a day, having said that, it did fair up for the bird nerds earlier this evening! Martin saw an Osprey over on the far side of Loch Gruinart, later on Peter spotted an Arctic Skua and also a Peregrine coming up the loch, and then they both flew back towards the head of the loch. A Whimbrel was calling away as it flew past. A group of Oystercatchers along with a few Redshank flew out towards the mouth of Loch Gruinart. Some Ringed Plovers were on the near shoreline with a lot over the far side from us, too far to be positively identified. It was David Formby's last meeting with us as he is heading over to live close to Carlisle, so we all wish David, Margaret and their son John "all the best". As we came home round by Loch Gorm, we had the good fortune of a really close sighting of a Barn Owl out in broad daylight, at Ballinaby, the first that we have seen out in daylight for some time. On the BBC news today, our old (not his age!) friend Ed Burrell was in a feature about Common scoters. Good to see you Ed!! Ed as some you may recall spent some time here on Islay over the past 2 winters doing research into the Greenland Whitefronts.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Monday 27th July

A mixed day with the weather, no sun , grey overhead, some rain in the mix, almost an Autumn sort of a day!George Jackson was telling me yesterday that he thinks that the Arctic Terns that usually nest down on the shore below his house at Bruichladdich have not had much success, possibly due it being windy at the wrong time and also high tides as well. The Swallows in his garage have fared better, rearing youngsters. Mark from the Scottish Borders had a male Hen Harrier at the Laggan bridge on the high road, a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Laggan itself. Along at Laggan Point a couple of Peregrines and finally 150 Dunlin were seen at Gartbreck. This evening, when I returned home after a meeting, there was a small hedgehog in the car lights in the garden, makes a change from Rabbits and Hares!!!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday 26th July

The weather forecast was wrong, a nice complaint for once... we did not get the rain that they had claimed we should have got, but there again it might come tomorrow instead! Yesterday evening, Gary and Sam had done a quick scan out from Smelly corner and their birds were as follows, 63 Barwits, 17 Redshank, over 200 Curlew, 3 Whimbrel, over 250 Oystercatcher, 125 BH Gull, 200+ C Gull, 47 Pied Wagtail, 4 Buzzards and 81 Ringed Plover. In the garden here at home, at the back of breakfast time, there were 15 Song Thrushes and 5 Blackbirds and this evening over 200 Jackdaws were on the grass!! Visitor Mark Cockburn from the Scottish Borders had been up at Ardnave and braved the squally showers...His tally was 1 Peregrine, 1 Ringtail Hen Harrier, 21 Chough, 4 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 10 Twite, 1 Redpoll, Wheatear, a Mute Swan with 4 cygnets. Down at the reserve at Gruinart, Mark saw another ringtail Hen Harrier.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Saturday 25th July

Another day of wall to wall sunshine, but tomorrow the weather is looking not so good with the wind picking up and rain due as well. Round Loch Gorm this evening, along the verge/ road sides, there were many Meadow Pipits, Stonechats and Wheatears to be seen while in the fields some Greylags were seen and also a few Lapwings as well as some Pied Wagtails. On Tuesday evening, as it is the last Tuesday of the month, the Bird nerds will be meeting up again. We will meet over on Loch Gruinart on the East side close to Bun an Uillt (NR294690), at 6.30 to see what birds around. There is a small "quarry" at the side of the road where we can park, so feel free to come along if you are around. The rain is only coming tomorrow, so Tuesday night will be dry...

Friday, 24 July 2015

Friday 24th July

Another not bad day out here on the western edge of Islay, the sun is streaming in through the big gable windows, with the shades across so I can see... what a complaint!! As I write the Jackdaws are outside, calling away, earlier on it had been the Choughs that were making the noise...This morning, there was a Linnet on the seed heads of some of the weeds that were sown there on purpose just for the birds to eat... This afternoon there was a Redpoll down on the garden wall and the 2 young Buzzards were out on the wing, further up on the thermals. Cliff from Hexham had taken a walk out in the hills on the Rhinns yesterday, and was pleased to see Buzzards, Ravens, a distant Golden Eagle and also a Peregrine.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thursday 23rd July

A bit windy over here today, but at least it has kept dry... Out over the wee crag, or "lamb hill", this afternoon were the 2 young Buzzards practising their flying skills, soaring in the uplift, great to see them gaining in confidence. Later on out over the big crag, 2 Peregrines were seen. Down towards the pond, there were a few Song Thrushes out looking for worms on the "disturbed" soil with some Swallows swooping low over the actual pond itself, no doubt hawking for food! Out on the sea, there was a steady stream of groups of Gannets flying South.