Colder today, with frost and dark clouds that looked potentially snow-laden, but producing just occasional light rain showers. Not a great start to the month, with nobody venturing out to go birding.
Thursday 30 November 2023
Further lovely bright, sunny, dry, cold and "crisp" weather today with a frost and even a suggestion of ice covering some of the smaller lochans.
Ed Burrell reported 3 Jack Snipe at Cornabus, otherwise, all the reported action was on the western side of the island. Gary Turnbull was out watching at the top of Loch Indaal where he noted 2-3 White-tailed Eagles hunting and sat on the exposed sand flats up near Bridgend. Here too he noted a Little Egret, Snow Bunting, 2 Brambling amongst 100+ Chaffinches and over 800 Dunlin and 100 Golden Plover at Carnain, with a Golden Eagle up at Carrabus.
I was back and forth to Bowmore in late morning and counted 40+ Whooper Swans and 20 Brent Geese still present, feeding with masses of Wigeon in Loch Indaal from the Gaelic college.
Stuart Meredith had a further 2 White-tailed Eagles up at Gruinart, one of which took a Herring Gull for lunch! Also note were single Greenshank and later a Jack Snipe at dusk off the shoreline at Bruichladdich.
Wednesday 29 November 2023
Another lovely cold, calm, bright and sunny day. Stuart Meredith noted the/a Glaucous Gull at Traigh an Luig this morning and again this afternoon. In between he found the American Wigeon still down at Cornabus. Other than that a Great Spotted Woodpecker and White-tailed Eagle were seen at Lily Loch.
Tuesday 28 November 2023
A mostly cool, bright and sunny day, though odd, light showers at time.
Our visiting birders (Stuart Meredith & co.) were out there taking advantage of the mostly decent conditions, finding a couple of Cackling Geese with the Barnies at Bridgend. Later at Blackrock they counted 7 Long-tailed Duck, 130 Common Scoter (a quite high number for Islay), 3 Slavonian Grebes and the usual Red-throated and Great Northern Divers. At Bruichladdich they found a single Purple Sandpiper at high tide.
Further down the Rhinns, Mary Redman noted a couple of Merlins near Cultoon, a Buzzard at Claddach and 2 Chough on the beach there, plus feeding on the food put out for Mary's hens!
Monday 27 November 2023
Firstly a huge thank you to Mary Redman and Annie Rudd for keeping the Islay Bird Blog going in such good style over the past four weeks during my absence and at a busy time of year with lots of bird sightings to report when so many birders visit Islay to see the newly arriving wintering geese and swans.
It was a bright, cool and sunny day today, with David Dinsley finding a late migrant or perhaps wintering male Blackcap at Kinnabus on The Oa. Up at Kilchoman Margaret Brooke had both male and ring-tail Hen Harriers passing by her house. Regular visitor Steve Lister scanned and counted Loch Indaal from the Gaelic College, reporting 62 Whooper Swans, 60 Brent Geese, 18 Shelduck, 18 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Slavonian Grebes, 88 Curlews, and c. 40 Bar-tailed Godwits. As light faded at 4.30pm, he also noted a Barn Owl between the Gaelic College and Bridgend.
Sunday 26 November 2023
Morven has been in touch with the Goose Count numbers for the 21st/22nd of November for the island and the totals are: 27,069 Barnacle Geese, 3,948 White-Fronted Geese, and 1,393 Greylags!
Ed Burrell reports that the American Wigeon was still at Cornabus this morning. Ken’s Crew had two adult White-Tailed Eagles at Finlaggan, 28 Tufted Ducks, and two Little Grebes at Loch Skerrols; and 11 Coal Tits at the Woolen Mill feeders.
Thanks very much everyone for your sightings!
Saturday 25 November 2023
Ken, from Steve Lister’s group, kicked off a beautiful day to a good start with the Red-Breasted Goose being its typically-illusive-self in amongst the Barnies at on the mudflats between Bowmore and Bridgend.
Dave Wood spotted three Waxwings at Risabus but they quickly flew north. Mary Redman had a good day too, with a White-Tailed Eagle on the light house island this morning, another at Claddach, a Kestrel on the way up towards the craft shop, and just outside Portnahaven she had a male Bullfinch!
Her Harriers were out and about in good numbers too, Sam spotted a Ringtail at Skerrols; Steve Lister’s crew had a ringtail at Port Charlotte, a male at Cornabus, and 2 males and 3 ringtails on The Oa; and I had a ringtail at Finlaggan and two males at Gruinart. That’s a total of 11 Hen Harriers reported around the island.
Thanks everyone, great day today!