Monday, 20 November 2017

Monday 20th November

Yesterday, Mandy spotted a Barn Owl on a fence post as she drove across the Gruinart flats. During the afternoon yesterday, she had a Kestrel sitting on a fence post below Carduncan, it took off and then started hovering, great sighting Mandy, her first Kestrel seen for over a year. Yesterday morning Mike had carried out hid WeBs count on Outer Loch Indaal, basically from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven. Mike counted a total of  110 GND, mostly in groups, the largest group being 18 in number. Within each group they were calling to each other while on the surface, then all diving together. Other birds seen were 3 RTD, 24 Common Scoter, 6 Wigeon, 6 Eider, 13 Shag, 11 Guillemot and a Tystie.
Here at home, the Goldfinches were back at the big niger feeder, after being awol for a few days...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday 19th November

This morning, we saw a Moorhen down on the pool at Carnain, where a pair of Mute Swans have tried to breed over the past few years.  The Scaup were present in the bay at Cash Kelly's house past Blackrock. Today Bob, Martin and Distillery Dave had carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore along to Gartbreck counting the following birds, 6 Greylags, 850 Barnies, 60 Whitefronts, 16 Mallard, 64 Wigeon, 42 Teal, 9 Eider, 25 R b Merganser, 6GND, 2 Cormorant, 35 Shag, 2 Shelduck, 6 Heron, 52 Oystercatcher, 38 Curlew, 50 Barwits, 2 Blackwits, 20 Knot, 7 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, 1 Snipe, 7 Turnstone, 450 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 55 Lapwing, 25 Ringed Plover, 8 Gbb Gull, 40 H Gull, 20 C. Gull and 8 B h Gull.
This afternoon, Margaret spotted over 20 Whoopers flying South towards Ireland, way out past Granny's Rock.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday 18th November

Yesterday Carl had been out with a photographer.. Up at Sanaigmore they saw 3 Golden Eagles, a Merlin and a Kestrel. Today while out his wheels by himself, Carl saw 2 Red Grouse close to the former Kilchoman school as you come over the from Loch Gorm down towards Gruinart.
Over at Finlaggan yesterday, Gary saw a Kestrel, 4 Bullfinches and a count of 7 Buzzards. Today, Gary had ben out with folk that won a competition to come over to stay on Islay  for a few days and see some of our tremendous wildlife. Gary came up trumps, for sure... They saw 5 Golden Eagles over Jura, and from Coal Ila, they saw 3 White tailed Eagles and another 2 Golden Eagles and then up at Bunnahabhain, they saw an Otter out on the rocks. Later on at Finlaggan, they saw a Grey Wagtail, a Peregrine in the air as well as a fly past by a Crossbill..
Gary was also commenting on more Buzzards being around, while waiting on his folk this morning, he saw 8 Buzzards from Whin Park, all on the ground on the merse and out on the sand.
No sign of the Blackcap here at home today, perhaps he did not like the apples that he was guzzling into yesterday... mind you I made the most of the day planting even more daffodils... What a show they will be if and when they come into flower... as long as the wind does not twist them around too much, but hopefully, I have planted most of  them in sheltered places...

Friday, 17 November 2017

Friday 17th November

A mixed day with the weather, with quite a lot of squally showers coming in from the sea..
The Bowland birders had seen 2 Barn Owls up past Bob's house out of Port Charlotte.. This morning they saw a Moorhen on the distillery pond at Port Charlotte. Later on they had seen 6 Snipe near to Ballinaby, then a Snow Bunting at Machir Bay and while they were up having a catch up with us a male Blackcap was in at the feeders, eating away at the apples on the ground. Also seen here, over 40 Chaffinches and around 20 Goldfinches clamouring around the feeders, and then a ringtail flew past, keeping everyone on their toes!! The Lesser Whitethroat is still on Martin's feeders..

The Blackcap was a new "Islay tick" for them.. a not bad week, with 90 species seen so far.

Mark along with the "vols"  had carried out the WeBS count at Loch Gruinart today, with their tally coming in at 1,610 Golden Plover, 114 Curlew, 47 Turnstone, 106 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 49 Ringed  Plover, 9 Snipe, 6 Greenshank, 104 Shelduck,175 Wigeon, 54 Barwit, a Blackwit and a Pale bellied Brent Goose

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Thursday 16th November

Another dry day out here again, a bit on the cold side, but for time of the year, certainly not that bad a day.. This afternoon, out in the garden I manage to get some more bushes planted as well as a few daffodils too..
The Bowland birders, yesterday had gone round Loch Gorm seeing Skylarks, Dunnocks, Wood Pigeons, Mistle Thrush, 4 Chough down close to Machir Bay, with 25 Ringed Plover seen there too. The Cackling goose was present amongst Barnies at Rockside along with a flock of around 80 Chaffinches. Back at Octomore, Reed Bunting was added to their list for the week. Today at Octomore, they saw a Grey Wagtail. At Bun an Uisge, where Islay Farmers used to trade from, they saw 6 Pale belied Brents. At the top of the merse at Bridgend, 12 Pintail, and a male Goldeneye were seen. Loch Skerrols held Mute Swans, Whooper Swans, Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Teal. Round at Newton, on the stubbles there, a Brambling was amongst the large flock of Chaffinches. A walk from the Woollen Mill produced Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, 7 Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Wednesday 15th November

Yesterday, Gary had been out with some clients, a great day to be out plus they had some great sightings thrown in, so here are some of their best sightings. At Coal Ila, they saw a couple of Otters out in the Sound of Islay, what a start... While they were there a White tailed Eagle and then a Golden Eagle were also seen, along the road and over the hills behind Ballygrant, another White tailed Eagle was present. From Blackrock, out on Loch Indaal they had seen a Red throated Diver, only 5 feet from where they were parked up, GNDs, Common Scoter, 3 Long tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe and the flock of Scaup as well. Along at Rockside they had 2 small Canada Geese and also the larger Canada, Todd's goose amongst the Barnies and Whitefronts present there.

This morning, Gary dropped in for a cuppa and a natter, who else came by but this female Sparrowhawk who happily sat on the old sack barrow outside the kitchen window while I managed to get the above, could be a bit clearer but taken through the double glazed window. Earlier on,  Gary had seen the Snow Bunting down on Machir Bay and also found a dead Common Gull with BTO ring on... Mandy had seen some Whitefronts over at Carnduncan with collars fitted but too far off to read, she has also had a couple of Greenfinches on her feeders at Carnduncan itself.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tuesday 14th November

Today, Lesley Silcock reported through on a report of 2 Snow Buntings being seen down at Machir Bay. While she was there, in the Coull field adjacent to the car park, Lesley had a count of at least 24 Curlew, a Snipe along with 2 chough being present as well.
The Bowland birders have been out and about, making the most of a better day.. At Bruichladdich, opposite the mini market, 2 Purple Sandpipers were seen. From Blackrock, 8 Slavonian Grebes out on Loch Indaal, 57 Scaup counted close to the shore, with a pair of Stonechats seen in the car park there. From the hide old hide at Gruinart, they saw a Peregrine and also a Ringtail harassing around 100 Teal around. A flock of 12 Long tailed Tits were seen clos to the viewing platform. Along towards the visitor centre at Gruinart, they has a small Canada Goose, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Little Grebes, 6 Wigeon, 6 Whoopers including 2 Juvs. Along the flats they had a Whitefronted Goose with a radio collar on. A female Merlin flew along the road at the former Kilchoman School, and finally they saw 4 Woodcock, back at Octomore. Martin was over here visiting this morning us when a ringtail flew over the garden. The Lesser Whitethroat was still present on his feeders this morning with a Blackcap flitting around as well. We also had a small flock of 20 Redwing on the overhead cables leading up to our cottage