Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Tuesday 31st March

If the weather was not very good yesterday, well today it has not been that great either, with the wind topping just over 63mph just after 4pm. Mind you when we had "our" top speed of 75mph back in January, spare a thought for the team players out on St Kilda, their "machine" topped 188mph before it packed in... say no more!!! Visitor Peter Gill had seen White tailed Sea Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart and a Green winged Teal out in front of the new hide on Sunday. Yesterday, he had a Dabchick on Ballygrant loch with 3 Treecreepers spotted on the trees. Today in the shelter down at Lily Loch, 2 Dabchicks were present with 2 Long tailed Tits seen there too. A Great spotted Woodpecker was heard nearby too. A friend of George's was telling him that he had seen 20 Whooper Swans flying North before touching down in the sea up at Sanaigmore. A piece of late news, Mark Shields had seen an early Swallow over the Oa about a fortnight ago...

Monday, 30 March 2015

Monday 30th March

An image taken last week by Tony Johnson of a Sparrowhawk on a Rock Dove kill. Tony is regular visitor to Islay over the years and along with his wife Chris form the "Horwich birders" as you may know them by this name on the blog! This morning, Bob had a Glaucous Gull fly across the road in front of him down at the telephone exchange close to Coultorsay. The weather today has not been great, with a little spell of dry weather around midday but that was about all.... the ferries are already cancelled for tomorrow... forgot to say there was a Fulmar in the other day!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sunday 29th March

A tousy old day out here with the odd blatter of rain thrown in for good measure.... Yesterday over at Port Askaig while waiting on the ferry to depart, the Horwich birders had counted 16 Black Guillemots, a GND and 3 Gannets flew along the Sound. New birders who arrived yesterday, Nadia and Darren from Essex, had a choppy crossing coming over, and while coming into Port Askaig they had 2 pairs of Red breasted Merganser, a GND, pr of Mute Swans and several Black Guillemots. This morning, while not venturing out from their cottage over on the High road over at Glenegedale, they had managed to see a pr of Stonechats, pr of Whinchats, pr of Goldfinches a Robin and a Pied Wagtail. Perhaps they managed out this afternoon....

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saturday 28th March

Yes, the weather forecast was spot on with the wind picking up through the night along with some rain... Yesterday, was the Horwich birders last full day before heading home today, a few hours later in leaving due to the ferries being rescheduled... Yesterday, just along the Strand from the coal yard they saw their first Wheatear of their visit. After that they headed up to Ardnave. At Traigh Nostaig, they counted 22 Sanderling, 78 Oystercatchers and 8 Ringed Plover. Off Ardnave Point 4 GND were present while a Jack Snipe flew up from a gully at the Point. There were 8 Goldeneye, 4 Tufted Duck, 4 Wigeon, 16 Teal 2 Mute Swan and a Dabchick on Ardnave Loch itself with 12 Lapwing on the shoreline there as well.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Friday 27th March

Another not bad day with the weather, possibly a lull before the storm tomorrow when the wind is meant to pick up a notch or two, the early ferries are cancelled/ rescheduled already...Wally and Jude told me yesterday that they had over 20 Greenfinches on the feeders at the house they were staying at down in Bowmore. The Horwich birders yesterday had been down at The Woollen Mill where they had both Great Tits and Blue Tits in "great numbers" on the feeders. There also some Chaffinches and Coal Tits as well. In the conifers nearby, there were 20 Redpoll and a Siskin with a few Coal Tits, all feeding avidly. On the River Sorn there, a Dipper was seen. They also saw a GND off Blackrock. From the new hide at Gruinart their highlights were 4 Gadwall, 3 Greenshank, 1 Snipe, a male Reed Bunting. Other birds seen there were Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Redshank and Curlew. On their way down to the New hide, though the woods, a Treecreeper was present. Some of our visiting birders have gone home, so thanks to Wally and Jude, along with Neil and the group from Northamptonshire, good of you to drop in at the Bird nerds earlier this week.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Thursday 26th March

A bit cooler over here today, at least we have no snow!!!! Yesterday, the Horwich birders had a great day birding. On Loch Indaal, out from Uiskentuie they had 6 Long tailed Ducks, close at hand. Also seen from there was a Goldeneye, 8 Common scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 GND and 35 Eiders, a good start... Just round at Blackrock, there were 11 Pale bellied Brent Geese. 2 Goldcrest were present in Ballygrant Woods. A further GND was on the Sound of Islay off Bunnahabhain with Redpolls seen up close to Bunnahabhain as well. Further Redpolls were seen down around Lily Loch as well as a couple of Long tailed Tits. 4 Tufted Ducks were on Lily Loch with a further 6 on Loch Allan. At Finlaggan, a Dabchick was seen with 4 Crossbills there too. Another Dabchick was on Loch nan Cadhan, as were 2 Mute Swans. Nearby they saw 2 Reed Buntings. On their way home, a distant White tailed Sea Eagle was seen. Also yesterday, the Northamptonshire birders under Neil McMahon's leadership had been over on Jura and a great time watching a couple of Golden Eagles attempting to force a Red Deer over a steep incline, but no joy!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Wednesday 25th March

A not bad day here today with the weather, it has been dry which allows us all to get on with some outside work, the farmers are busy ploughing their fields. Yesterday, the Horwich birders had gone over to Jura for the day, in the Achamore area they saw a Merlin, approaching Inver Bridge they had a ring tailed Hen Harrier with another further on over Lowlandman's Bay as well as a Sparrowhawk there as well. On Loch Tarbet itself, there were 19 Whoopers resting up on the shoreline. Coming back down to the ferry, they had 4 GND in Small Isles Bay. Back on Islay, on a rather choppy Loch Skerrols, 7 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye and 2 Mute Swans were present. Wally and Jude had 14 Whoopers battling their way up the Sound of Islay against a strong headwind at Port Askaig where there were also 14 Black Guillemots present. I got the figures through from last weeks'International Goose Count with the tally being 36,989 Barnies, 3,995 Greenland Whitefronts and 431 Greylags, thanks to Tracey and the team from SNH for these figures. Last night was the "early" meeting of the bird nerds, and we were all pleased with the turnout, 22 fol. Mainly visiting birders, it was a great chance to meet informally with them, for most of whom it was their first visit and certainly not their last, some of whom no doubt we will meet up at the Bird Fair come August down at Rutland.