Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sunday 29th November

Another windy day with some heavy showers in the mix too. There was a gust of 61.5 mph around lunchtime. I emptied the rain gauge out this morning, that is now the second time that I have done it this month with a tally so far of 8.3inches and there is still until 9am on Tuesday morning, before I tally up for the whole month, looks a wet one for sure!!! Gary braved the elements and down on the Strand at Uiskentuie. Gary saw several Ringed Plover, 33 Turnstone, 45 Oystercatcher, 21 R b Merganser, 7 Eider and a Red throated Diver.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Saturday 28th November

Rather a pig of a day, another set of squally showers coming in from nowhere blown in by a blustery wind to move it all along.... Coming back from Gary's talk on Thursday evening, I had a Barn Owl fly over the van as I turned off the main road and up the hill. Yesterday around midday, a male Sparrowhawk was following the road over at Coull before it swerved away on to rest up on a fence post. Late yesterday afternoon, Mandy saw a Barn Owl down at the road leading to Rockside and here at home today the local Sparrowhawk flew through the garden, thankfully not catching anything yet again!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Friday 27th November

Earlier this week, on one of the days when there was a brief lull in the weather, Mary managed to carry her WeBS, so here are Mary's "scores on the doors". On Loch Gruinart itself the tally was 6 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 5 Heron, 117 Shelduck, 161 Wigeon, 7 Mallard, 2 Goldeneye, 30 R B Merganser, 141 Oystercatcher, 29 Ringed Plover, 1010 Golden Plover, 705 Lapwing, 2 Knot, 25 Sanderling, 130 Barwit, 63 Curlew, 30 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 5 Turnstone, 13 B H Gull, 20 C Gull, 29 H Gull, 7 Gbb Gull and 33 Greylags. On the floods, 6 Mute, 8 Whoopers, 9 Greylags, 68 Teal, 38 Mallard, 8 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 2 R b Merganser, 1 Heron, 171 Lapwing, 1 Curlew, 1 Greenshank and 16 Redshank. Up on Ardnave Loch the tally was 6 Mute, 7 Whoopers, 23 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 8 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 10 Goldeneye and a Heron. Thanks Mary! Wednesday was the last full day of Ken and the Burbagebirders. They headed off down to the Port Ellen area in the hope of seeing the cackling goose, but no joy. Undeterred, Ken and his team headed up to Coal Ila and Bunnahabhain (possibly the Distilleries?).... Yes, they turned up trumps with 3 Golden Eagles and 2 White tailed Sea Eagles seen over Jura with an Otter seen in the Sound of Islay. On the road over to Ardnave, every flock of geese was scanned but still no cackling goose, but Ardnave proved trumps with over 40 Chough seen out on the wing. Ken and the team left yesterday morning, on a flat calm crossing, last bird for the list were some Black Guillemots who missed the bow of the ferry by a mere metre! Hopefully it won't be too long before you return again, always a pleasure to meet up with you when you are over...

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thursday 26th November

Back at the weekend, Alistair Hutchison had seen 2 Greater spotted Woodpecker down towards Loch Ballygrant, and last week, he had seen one perched on a tree in at Loch Skerrols. Today, there were some Redwings flitting along the fence posts over at Ballinaby. There were also several hundred Barnacle Geese who took off as we slowed down to scan through them. The Whitefronts were there with the Barnies, but seem quite settled allowing us to look for any with neck collars on, but none were seen!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wednesday 25th November

Mary, on her way into work yesterday, saw a female Peregrine down at Uiskentuie. Louise reported through to say that she had seen 2 Golden Eagles, 6 Snow Buntings and 25 Fieldfares whilst on her travels on Islay! Ken yesterday, along with the Burbage birders had a not too bad a day considering the weather. A raft of 52 Scaup and then a raft of 64 Common Scoter were seen off Blackrock. 39 Pale bellied Brent were present at Bowmore. Along the track leading to Laggan, 3 Yellowhammer, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers and a Merlin were seen. A Kestrel, 2 Golden Eagles and a flock of over 120 Linnets were present on the Oa. At the close of play, a juv. White tailed Sea Eagle was out past Ardbeg towards Claggain Bay. At the bird nerds meeting last night, Lesley told me that the Aberdeen team had 99 species in total during their brief stay, a great time, considering the weather... On our way home from the meeting, we had a Snipe at the roadside as came over the hill from Gruinart and just after Sunderland Farm, a Woodcock resting up in the centre of the road, just as well the van has got good breaks... Today, the Sparrowhawk swooped through the garden twice in the hope of catching something, no luck pal!!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tuesday 24th November

An early entry being put to press tonight as it is the Bird nerds meeting plus the fact I have some sightings in already...Lesley and the Aberdeen RSPB group on Sunday afternoon had carried on round Loch Gorm having a count of around 300 Redwing, some 10 Fieldfare and the occasional Song Thrush noted along with Blackbirds. Over the fields, they had a flock of 50 Skylarks. They also had excellent viewings of both male and the ringtail Hen Harriers as they drove round Loch Gorm. 4 Gadwall and 2 Goldeneye were on Loch Gorm itself while 2 male Bullfinches were in some trees, as were a number of Chaffinches. At the visitor centre at Loch Gruinart, a Siskin was seen on the feeders, and a Peregrine flew past! From the hide, 20 Pintail and then a Sparrowhawk were seen. 3 Dabchicks were on Ardnave Loch, out on the sea, a B T Diver was present along with 2 RT Diver and a GND. The Choughs turned out in force with 46 being counted! Last bird seen at Ardnave was a Merlin, and as they headed down to Port Ellen to the ferry, a Cackling goose was seen amongst some Barnies about a mile out of Port Ellen on the high road.. Thanks to folks for your sightings. On Sunday, Ken Reeves returned with another group from the Burbagebirders, their 11th visit to Islay! On the ferry coming over, 13 GND were seen, a raft of 55 RTD. Heading over their accomodation, they had 46 Scaup on Loch Indaal and also 3 BTD. Yesterday, a Merlin was seen at Port Charlotte, off Bruichladdich Pier, 9 Purple Sandpipers and a Common Snipe were present. 50 Dunlin along the flats at Gruinart, 2 Chough at Ardnave as were 11 Whoopers. On Loch Indaal, off Bowmore, 2 Long tailed Ducks, 2 Slav Grebes, 7 GND, 2 BTD, 2 RTD and 31 Eider, all in seen in "challenging conditions", according to Ken!!! Yesterday afternoon, Steve Rightson had seen a Swallow at Gartmain.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Monday 23rd November

What a difference a day makes, yesterday out in a jersey, today wearing a big jacket between the squally showers and windy as well... Early last week John Stephenson from Bowmore e mailed through (sorry only found it my junk box a few moments ago). Basically John was reporting that the big number of Whoopers were away from Ardnave Loch, but he had seen Chough there. Down in front of the old hide at Gruinart, he had 20 Whoopers the same day including 2 families with 5 youngsters. Yesterday afternoon, Mandy had 2 Greenshank, a Redshank and a Turnstone together at Bun an Uillt on Loch Gruinart. At the close of play around 5pm Mandy had a Tawny Owl on the verge at the side of the road as she passed the entrance to the visitor centre at Gruinart. Yesterday morning, Mike Peacock had 5 GND on the incoming tide at Gruinart. Mike also had 33 Sanderling, a few Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, with 4 Whoopers arriving in as well. Inland, Mike had 2 Hen Harrier and a Kestrel. Mid afternoon, from Port Charlotte panning across Loch Indaal to Gartbreck/ Laggan Point, 31 GND, 9 RTD, 53 Common Scoter and then another raft 9 were seen in flat calm conditions. Lesley was out with her old friends from Aberdeen yesterday. Going round Loch Indaal, 64 Pale bellied Brent, 4 Shelduck, 6 Slav Grebe and 6 Barwits. At Bridgend, a Dipper was seen on the River Sorn. In the woods at Bridgend a Goldcrest and Treecreeper were added to their list for their visit. More from Lesley tomorrow night... On our way down to Portnahaven last night, we had a Barn Owl below Carn with a Tawny Owl close to Ellister on our way home. We also saw several groups of Red Deer in the headlights too along with several Hares out on the roads playing silly games...they all lived to see another day.... Rememembr to come along to the monthly meeting of the bird nerds tomorrow night at the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore at 7.30pm, if you are around!!!!