Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday 18th September

Yesterday evening, Louise heard a Nightjar at The Gatehouse over on Jura. Some news through from Peter this evening re the Pale bellied goose which he saw down at Portnahaven a couple of days ago. It appears that the goose was first rung as a first year bird up in Iceland back the Spring of 2009. It has been seen wintering in the Strangford Loch area in Northern Ireland over thae past few winters and was seen this Spring back in Iceland. By the sound of things, a first record of this goose here on Islay! Peter saw 4 Red throated Divers over at Claggain Bay this afternoon. There were 13 Mute Swans on Loch Indaal, between Gatmain and the Gaelic College. On the reserve at Gruinart, James had seen a Barn owl, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and 2 Grey Wagtails. On our travels today, we saw a total of 5 Wheatears all individual birds at different locations, and also a stunning male Stonechat flew across the road as we came towards the gravel quarry at Sunderland.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Wednesday 17th September

It is not just me that thinks we are having a great Summer... As Peter said today, another gorgeous day... He had been up the East side of Loch Gruinart where e had seen a group of 5 Greenshanks. there are still a few Swallows around, but I think that the bulk of them have already flown South. There was a Wheatear down at the stream down beside the Coastguards houses earlier on today.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Tuesday 16th September

Another great day, and the forecast looks settled until next Tuesday, not that I am complaining... the sunset this evening was stunning too!! Around midday, Peter had been down at Portnahaven where he saw 7 Pale belied Brent Geese, the first reported Geese of the Autumn here on Islay. One of the geese had coloured rings on it and Peter has sent the info away, so here is hoping we get to hear more about the said goose! Back at Bruichladdich, Peter had 4 Red throated Divers, 7 Common Scoter, 15 Eider and a Black Guillemot in winter plumage off the pier on Loch Indaal. On the overhead wires earlier on this evening, here at home there were 45 Goldfinches and 9 Linnets. Forgot to mention the other day that Paul Hathaway had a ringtail Hen Harrier about half a mile out of Bunnahabhain as he headed up to work on Friday morning. If you want to see some tremendous images of Barn Owls, click on the link to Gordon Yates and you will see some of Gordon's recent work, what it is like to be patient... Gordon was telling me last night that the Barn Owls have had a much better breeding success this year. In Greater Manchester alone, there have been 25 pairs breeding successfully this year, compared with only 4 pairs last year. Gordon also had heard that around 1,000 young Barn Owls have been rung this year in Lincolnshire. All good news, fingers crossed that they all manage through to breed themselves later on.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Monday 15th September

Had an e mail through from Ed Burrell who was over here on Islay last winter doing work on the Greenland Whitefronts. Ed had some great news in that he got a message through from one of his geese that had been fitted with the radio transponders. It was last hear of back on the 2nd of May as it left Iceland heading over to Greenland. Well, on Friday Ed was able get some data downloaded from it through the mobile phone network/GSM network when it was over East Greenland. On Saturday, it was on to North East Iceland. The first of Whitefronts arrived in Iceland on Wednesday, so if they get a suitable tail wind it won't be long before they return here... Great to hear from you Ed and look forward to catching up when you return yourself next month, may be we should have radio tagged Ed as well to follow his movements too!!!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday 14th September

Last week, James had been down in Leeds at a RSPB conference, his highlight was seeing Nuthatches, Jays and also 3 Red Kites... coming home on the ferry on Friday afternoon, he spotted a White tailed Sea Eagle as the ferry came up the Sound of Islay towards Port Askaig. Visiting birders Susan and John Kirkman, yesterday had done the walk from Bowmore down to Gartberck around midday. Their birds were as follows, mixed flock of 30 Curlew and Whimbrel, 7 Mute Swan, 1 female Red breated Merganser, odd Ringed Plovers, 60 Oysterctatcher, several flocks of Starlings numbering between 100 and 300 in total, 50 Dunlin, 50 Sanderling, 10 Gannets (several plunging into Loch Indaal), 50 Greylags, many Rock Pipits and Pied Wagtails, a "fine" Greenland Wheatear, ringtail Hen Harrier at Gartbreck itself, about 60 Stonechats, 50 Linnets, a large flock of around 1,000 finches in from Gartbreck with Goldfinches, Twite and Brambling being seen, 50 Atlantic Seals were seen on their walk. On Friday, down at Portnahaven, they also had seen another large mixed of finches. Susan and John also noted Pied Wagtails everywhere, as were Stonechats, Whinchats, Collared Doves, Starlings and House Sparrows, many of which they do not see back home in Sheffield in such numbers. Today, Bob had a male Merlin over at Bolsa.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Saturday 13th September

Well, after all that possible excitement of seeing the Northern lights last night, the cloud beat us all here, and it looks like another overcast night with no real sunset this evening... Yesterday, Paul Hathaway had seen 2 Whooper Swans over at Bunnahabhain, yesterday as well, we saw around 40 Goldfinches between Rockside and Sunderland Farm. Back on Tuesday, Emily had been able to show the folk on the guided walk down on the Oa a juvenile Golden Eagle.. in return, some of the visitors were able to point out Ballycastle and several of the surrounding villages over on Northern Ireland, the visibility was so good... Emily was also saying that Marsh Frits have had a good year, with both Scabious and now the heather having a good year as well. Hear that the Pink footed Geese have started to return to Montrose Basin, Corncrake numbers are up on Orkney to 36 calling males, on the negative side of the coin, Kestrel numbers are well down throughout the whole of the UK.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Friday 12th September

No records broken today with the temperature only rising to 18 degrees early afternoon, but there is an outside chance of seeing the Northern Lights later on, but it is rather cloudy outside at present, so we will just have to wait and hopefully see... Paul our visiting birder had a busy time today. Down at Frenchman's Rocks he had count of 400 Gannets fly past in an hour along with 15 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Fulmar, 1 Kittiwake and some Guillemots. Later on, at "Smelly corner" Paul had 80 Dunlin, over 20 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint. Finally over at Ballinaby he saw a male Hen Harrier. On his travels today, he also saw 5 Wheatears, possibly birds moving through. He also reported seeing more Stonechats around than during other visits at a similar time of year.