Sunday, 13 October 2019

Sunday 13th October

Yesterday, early afternoon, and Mandy had seen over 40 Whoopers fly over Kindrochid as she headed home to Carnduncan. Earlier on,  in the fields at Ballinaby, she had seen a flock of Greylags along with some Barnies and Whitefronts present amongst the Greylags. Gary had seen large numbers of Redwing and Skylarks coming in from the North, and also 10 Crossbills flew past. Down at Finlaggan, he had a White tailed Eagle sitting on one of the trees there. He also saw several Crossbills flying along the tops of the trees there as well.

Richard, this morning at around 8am, had seen the 2 White rumped Sandpipers in the same location up at Sanaigmore.
The above is an image of the 2 birds taken yesterday by myself...

Down on the shore line at Sanaigmore, Richard had a Snow Bunting and also a Chough. Down at Blackrock he had counted 18 Scaup. There was also a small pasage of of around 20 Mistle Thrush and Redwing seen at Bunahabhain. At Cattadale, Richard had a male Hen Harrier while off  Bowmore, he had seen a GND and also a RTD out on Loch Indaal.
James, this morning, counted 15,545 Barnies, 36 Whitefronts, 9 Whoopers, 7 Pintail, 14 Pinkies and also 2 Pb Brent Geese. Down on the merse at Bridgend, he saw a White tailed Eagle and also the 2 Snow Geese were still present.
Late afternoon, we too saw the  2 Snow Geese at Bridgend, and then while coming home, there were 56 Whoopers along with large mixed flock of geese seen on one of the barley stubbles at Sunderland.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Saturday 12th October

As promised a round up firstly of birds seen out from Whin Park yesterday....Gary's initial list included the followig birds there from around 1pm... 2 White tailed Eagles,  2 Lesser Snow Geese, a single Greenshank, and also 20 + Curlew, 40 + Dunlin as well 50+ Red Knot, 4 Red b Merganser, 3 Buzzards, 30 Pinkies, 2 small Canada geese, 150+ Greylags, a single Pale bellied     Brent goose and a Peregrine. Late afternoon after Gary, Richard and ourselves had gone, Peter came along and after quite a patient piece of scoping found the Snow Geese. His count of the Barnies came in at 850 as they were dropping in all the time.. the small Canada was seen briefly, 15 Pinkies, a single P b Brent, 85 Greylags and also 75 Curlew. Peter did not count the duck present, mainly Teal and Wigeon, but said there were plenty around.

An image through from Gary of one of the Lesser Snow geese...

Distillery Dave had a Merlin on Thursday while out walking his dog down the road at Rockside. On Friday, he saw a Peregrine hunting over the fields there.

Nick and Kath had seen 4 Greenshank and a Barwit seen from their car as they drove up the east side of Loch Gruinart. They also counted 50+ Whoopers on the reserve.

Iain & Fiona yesterday had seen 4 GND, and also a RTD over at Claggain Bay and then they had a White  tailed Eagle seen over close to Ballygrant. Many thanks for your birds folks... and obviously to other visitors who sent in their sightings through the week, as ever much apprecated to you all...

Today started off as normal, a quiet sort of a day, then the phone rang, with Richard saying that he was convinced that he had 2 White rumped Sandpipers,  on a pool up at Sanaigmore, a quick phone to alert Peter and we all met up and yes it was as Richard thought. James was seen walking down on the Bay so adding his thoughts.. Earlier on Richad had seen a Little Egret at the mouth of the River Sorn, and also out from Black Rock he had seen Common Scoter, Scaup  and Eider. James had seen a Pale bellied Brent and also a Merlin, down close to the Bay at Sanaigmore as well. Distillery Dave had over 300 Barnies seen at Rockside this morning. Visitors had seen the Snow Geese out from Whin Park when they arrived off the ferry this afternoon, and Gary saw them again around 4.30 pm on his way to work.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Friday 11th October

Yesterday Iain & Fiona Grant had managed to see some birds and sent them through...
Near to Ardbeg, they had seen 4 Swallows and also 2 Grey Wagtails. Just outside of Bowmore, 11 Redwing were seen. Up the West side of Loch Gruinart, a female Merlin was seen feeding on an "unfortunate" Mipit. They had seen the start of the Barnies arriving  back on Islay with over 1,000 counted and more ariving before leaving Gruinart. Other birds seen at Gruinart included a Merlin, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and also 8 Greenshank. At Ballinaby, they saw 5 Whoopers, 150 Greylags, 3 Pinkies, and also 50 Barnies and then on Machir Bay, 6 Sanderling, 36 Ringed Plover and a single Dunlin were present.
This morning, James had arried out a quick count of any new arrivals on the reserve, he had a count of 5810 Barnies, 6 Greenland Whitefronts, a single Pale bellied Brent Goose and also 3 Redwing... Not to be outdone, we have had a great 2 hour stint at the head of Loch Indaal in rather trying weather this afternoon... Gary was in touch to say that he had 2 Snow Geese present down on the edge of the merse, so after a quick call round to folk, off we went hoping that we might get a sight of them..So, we met Gary and also Richard with Mark and Shona Islay coming along. After a bit of patience, Gary and Richard located the Geese for us, they were tucked up in a hollow and resting up but were seen. Gary sent an image over to Jim Dickson who said in his opinion that they were Lesser Snow Geese. More on these birds and the other birds which were seen when we were there tomorrow night. Peter had came along after we had left and managed to see them as well.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Thursday 10th October

Yesterday, Nick and Kath had seen a Merlin up towards Ardnave, and then later on they saw another Merlin sitting on top of a rock at the side of the road. They had also another Merlin dash across the road just South of Port Charlotte. The other day they had seen some Swallows around and now reckon that they could be feeding young on the nest... Robin Andrews and his wife, (another visiting birders), had seen a Pale bellied Brent and also 2 Barnies along with around 100 Greylags on their way out from The Machrie Hotel. Down on the Oa, out towards the American monument they had seen 2 Snow Buntings, and then along at the Kildalton Cross they had seen 4 House Martins and also a Swallow practising their flying skills. As Robin said, they were quite "surprised" to see them as all the Hirundines left them in North Yorkshire about 10 days ago. In around Kildalton, they also had a Yellowhammer and also a Greenfinch.

This morning, we watched a male Hen Harrier out on the wing flying over the Machir. Coming back from "Cake o'clock" at Gruinart, we had counted 52 Barnies resting up on a stubble field at Ballinaby along with over 120 Greylags. Along towards Saligo Bay, a male Hen Harrier was spotted flying quite high up and not spoofing or worrying anybody else...
Robin Andrews and his wife, Hilary today had called in for a cuppa, and Robin quickly told us that the sun would be shining by 4 pm, needless to say, we doubted him, but right enough at 15.58 the sun came out. Robin had seen 2 Curlew Sandpipers down the shore of Loch Indaal and also 6 Barwits earlier on, before coming up to visit us. They also had seen Redshank and Dunlin present there as well.
Richard Belter had seen a RTD and also a single Eider off Kintra.  Later on, while on the Oa he had seen Merlin, a Sparrowhawk, Rock Doves and also 3 Chough. At Upper Killeyan, a large flock of Twite was present. Back at Gruinart, Richard had counted 800 Barnies present and he also saw a Swallow out in front of the visitor centre there as well.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Wednesday 9th October

Another mixed bag with the weather here again today, possibly not so many heavy dirty showers around, but certainly the wind has huffed and puffed for most of the day. On a really positive note, we have not had any of our ferries cancelled, with Port Askaig being the preferred port of arrival and departure, the advantage of having 2 ferry ports on Islay...

Some sightings from yesterday came through to me after I had written the blog last night....Top birds seen by Iain and Fiona from the North hide at Gruinart during a 2 hour stint in the afternoon included a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Ruff, 2 Redshank, over 250 Redshank, 100+ Wigeon, 30 Twite, 15 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 150+ Golden Plover, 50+ Lapwing, 4 Herons, 15 Curlew, a juv. Gannet, 50 + Mallard, 15 Mipits, 10 Pied Wagtails, 2 Buzzard, 2 Song Thrush & 6 Snipe. They also had  seen some Rooks, Jackdaws, Starlings, Hooded Crows as well. They also commented on the "lack of geese" but put it down to the weather..  Also yesterday, Nick and Kath had seen 2 GNDs, and a RTD plus 19 Curlew and also 3 R b Merganser, all at Claggain Bay.
Today, Richard Belter had seen 16 Whoopers  over at Gruinart, down on the dunes at Machir Bay he had 4 Choughs. Along the road from here, at Sunderland, he had  30/40 Pinkies and also a further 20 Whoopers. To finish off his day he has spotted 2 Barnies back over at Gruinart. 
Here at home, the kettle has been whistling away good style, at first we had George E. Jackson and his wife Pat before they headed out to the ferry and just as they left here, Richard came in for a catch up, great to see you all folks, all made very welcome....

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Tuesday 8th October

A miserable sort of a day with the weather out here today, with plenty of dirty squally showers appearing out of nowhere, thankfully I was never caught in any of them!!!   Needless to say, we have had the big fire burning away for most of the day... bring a bit of cheer, into one's day!!!

Yesterday morning, at Machir Bay, George E. Jackson had seen a female Goldeneye in the newly formed pool beside the car park down there!!!. George also had the usual Whoopers present at Rockside. Early afternoon, he saw over 150 Greylags come to land on the wee lochans at the SE end of Loch Gorm, and then later on, George counted a further 100 Greylags in the fields over at Saligo. Nick Brown and Kath Patrick had seen a male Hen Harrier and also a Merlin down on the Oa and then up at Gruinart, late afternoon, they saw another male and also 3 ringtails. James How, late  yesterday afternoon, had counted 7 Canada Geese and a total of 11 Grey Plovers on the reserve at Gruinart.

Today, returning birder Richard Belter braved the weather on the ferry to get here for a week's birdfix. He ventured out from where he is staying and had a male and then a ringtail Hen Harrier.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Monday 7th October

Yesterday, another pair returning visiting birders, Nick Brown and Kath Patrick, were in touch with some sightings.. while driving up to Ardnave, they had seen a flock of around 100 Linnets as well as  2 Swallows. Up at Ardnave,  in one of the fields adjacent to the Loch, they had 100 Golden Plover.  Later on, they saw a Merlin chase after a Mipit on their way coming back out from Machir Bay, below Leek on the N W corner of Loch Gorm, they had a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch. He also had a small group of Barnies fly overhead there as well. At Sunderland, 19 Whoopers and over 50 Pinkies seen there as well.

Speaking to my good friend Marsali this afternoon, on the phone, and Marsali's rain tally for Mulindry was 140 mm, (or 5.5 inches in old money) for September. Her figure for Saturday/ Sunday was 50 mm, just short of 2 inches... Marsali was saying, like up here at home, that the birds appear not to be interested in the food on offer and there are plenty of birds around...

This morning, Lesley had counted 17 Whoopers along at Sunderland. When Lesley was in for a cuppa with us, we had Buzzard on the garden fence....Late afternoon, Mike Young had seen a White tailed Eagle spoofing the sheep in the field beside his house at Rockside road end, better than watching the TV???