Saturday, 28 February 2015

Saturday 28th February

Another month almost in, but you like me, will have to wait until tomorrow before I reveal how much rain there has actually been. Certainly since lunchtime today, the rainfall has increased quite a bit, as has the wind! On Thursday, Mary counted 13 Pale bellied Brent Geese down at Bruichladdich while along the Strand at Uiskentuie, Mary and Liz had spotted 3 Rock Pipits, 2 Turnstone, 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Shag and 15 Oystercatcher. Mary had read in the sightings diary at the visitor centre at the reserve at Gruinart of an Iceland Gull seen at Bowmore and also the ever present Glaucous Gull still at Uiskentuie burn. Ken along with the Burbage birders had seen a flock of 60 Twite up at Ardnave, along with a few Chough. Along the flats at Gruinart a Richardson's cackling Goose was amongst the Barnies. They saw an Iceland Gull (for Mary's diary??) at Bowmore along with 9 Long taileed Ducks on Loch Indaal off Bowmore, 5 Slav Grebes on Loch Indall and finally 16 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich back on Wednesday/ Thursday. Thanks to Ken and his group for sending some of their sightings through, see you at Rutland at the Birdfair in August Ken!!! Trust you all got homre safely...

Friday, 27 February 2015

Friday 27th February

Catch up time with some sightings from easrlier this week which I had not been able to share with you as we were out of touch, say no more... Mary had braved the heavy showers and had been out with her Dad on his old stomping ground when he used to live here on Islay... Close to Storakaig on the Glen road, they saw a male Kestrel with 2 Mistle Thrushes and around a dozen Skylarks in the fields closeby. Over the woods near to Avonvoggie, 6 Ravens were flying there. Around 800 Barnies were close to Dun Nosbridge while down on Lily Loch, 4 Mute Swans and 10 Tufted Ducks were present. Coals Tits were heard calling away and further along the way there, 3 Woodpigeons were seen. Ken Reeves along with 5 members of the Burbage birders arrived over earlier this week for their annual February visit.. From the ferry coming over, their tally was 13 GND, 4 BTD, 7 RTD, 5 Kittiwakes with a White tailed Sea Eagle spotted over the Sound of Islay! On Tuesday, Mary had seen a couple of Pale Bellied Brent while down at Bowmore. Back at the office, Mary had seen a Mistle Thrush and thinks there are more around, posibly being blown in with the recent winds...Also at Woodside, plenty of birds to be seen on the new feeders including Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin and Dunnock.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Thursday 26th February

Ian back on the go again here, thanks to either James or Mary for doing the entry yesterday. Apart from personally being out of sorts with a stinker of acold, that was the least of our problems... Back around lunchtime on Monday we had a thunderstorm,it will not be forgotten about for some time. The net result is that the landline is completely out and will be sometime before BT can offer any chance to repair all the faults.. The electric went out but the "boys" from the Hydro board worked long and hard until 3 am so we all got power on, much appreciated. To cap it off the main computer went awol too. Just as well that we have satellite broadband!! No mobile phone reception out here on the edge, so it is the best part of a 10 mile round trip to phone someone, just hope you are in when I call you... Now the blog, moan over will give you some from the Rochdale birders who are on their last few days of their visit..Yesterday, they saw a White tailed Sea Eagle down at Blackrock. Earlier on in the week they had a Yellowhammer in the hedges leading up to Persabus at Port Askaig. Today over at Balinabby, a male Hen Harrier with 200 Rock Doves and 150 Twite seen there as well. Back down in Port Charlotte, a Treecreeper was present with a ringtail Hen Harrier up beside the water works up behind Port Charlotte. Here at home, the Bramblings are still enjoying their food, and this morning a Golden Eagle got blown past in the wind, close in less than 50 metres away....no quite a garden bird, just not close enough...

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wednesday 25th February 2015

A slightly better day after the rain and wind- (just rain today). The Rochdale birders have reported 20 Turnstones at Portnahaven and 3 Snipe at Bladdie. The Brambling is still enjoying the bird food at Kilchoman, and so far avoiding the attentions of a cruising Sparrowhawk. At Loch Gruinart today 5 different Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, 1520 Golden Plover, many with black bellies and 335 Lapwing.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sunday 22nd February

Not much of a day out here today and to cap it all both Margaret and myself have got stinkers of colds, running noses and sore throats... Luckily I have kept some sightings back. The Hampshire birders on Friday had seen 6 Purple Sandpipers, 24 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover and 21 Pale bellied Brents at Bruichladdich while over at Bowmore they saw a large raft of Eider and also 7 Redshank there as well. Finally up the Glen road they spotted a Golden Eagle. Thanks to Gary and Wendy in sending their birds to share with us all, also thanks to Mick and Clare Hemingway who were over last week, they were the winners of the free draw organised by the Islay & Jura Tourism and Marketing Group at the British Bird Fair held back in August down at Rutland. Mary returned on Friday after a few days away. She saw a male Hen Harrier close to Dunlossit and spotted 5 GND on Loch Indaal from below Carn, Port Charlotte. Yesterday on a trip round the block from Portnahaven, she saw a Gannet off Frenchman's Rocks, a ringtail Hen Harrier at Ballimony, a Sparrowhawk at Tormisdale, 3 Mistle Thrushes at Gearach. Finally at Bruichladdich, she saw the Pale bellied Brent but could not get an exact count as she was in traffic. Today the Rochdale birders had a flock of Redwing at Rockside, but not sure of their tally as I forgot to ask... the female Brambling was out feeding just after breakfast before the weather worsened here at home.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Saturday 21st February

Ashley from Oriole Birding sent through this image taken by his colleague John Swann who was over with him earlier this week. Over their 4 day stay, they saw 93 Species. On Thursday, they managed to locate the Richardson's Cackling Goose amongst the Barnies at the head of Loch Indaal. Over on the Sound of Islay they had an Otter with 4 GND and Black Guillemot seen there too. Other highlights of that day was a male Hen Harrier at Gartmain with a RTD out on Loch Indaal from the same location, a good time enjoyed by them all. The Rochdale birders today had a Glaucous Gull towards Ballygrant with the other Glaucous still present at Uiskentuie. They had seen a dog Otter fishing on the Sound of Islay off Coal Ila Distilery. At Storakaig, the Red Deer Stags were down off the hill tops. Round Loch Gorm they spotted a 1st year Golden Eagle a male Hen harrier with a ringtail spoofing a flock of 150 Twite. At Bruichladdich,68 Dunlin, 5 Purple Sandpiper and 2 Turnstone were seen. Here at home, the Bramblings are still to the fore eating away as if there might be no feed here for them tomorrow!!!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Friday 20th February

Another mixed day with the weather again, but in between showers Margaret and myself managed to fit in a couple of beaches in the Beach bird survey. We had a look along the high water mark for any casualties/ dead corpses of any birds at Saligo and later on up at Sanaigmore. The good news was that we found nothing! On our way up to Sanaigmore, we saw a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard, with a further 2 Buzzards and a Merlin as we headed along the road. At Sanaig, on the beach, there were 42 Oystercatchers. The Rochdale birders had a count of 410 Skylarks in a field at Sunderland .Albert Percival had seen Purple Sandpipers and Golden Plovers at Bruichladdich and more Golden Plovers at Ardnave. Mick saw a Peregrine through the patio doors of his cottage at breakfast time, "can't start a day better than that" Mick's own words... Up at Sanaig, he saw 3 Otters swimming together in the bay, further out he had 2 Gannets while back on shore he saw a Turnstone. Back inland he had 2 Chough, some Redwings and Fieldfares there as well. Back down beside Loch Gorm Mick had a male Hen harrier. Over from the Glen road he spotted a Golden Eagle. Down at Uiskentuie, the juv. Glaucous gull was still present as was the Brambling here at home. Finally, last Saturday, Alistair Hutchison had 6 Yellowhammers over at the back of Port Askaig.